Waiting to be seen by Psychiatry
A WIPA member recently conducted an informal informational study to gain a better understanding of the patients’ experience obtaining psychiatric care in the Salem area. All of the 45 patients questioned were covered by commercial insurance, meaning they were either 1.) covered under an employer’s insurance program or 2.) had sufficient financial means to purchase a private insurance policy.
Not surprisingly a lack of psychiatric providers, having to make multiple calls to multiple offices, and the long wait time before an appointment was actually available, were at the top of the list of roadblocks.
Many of the psychiatric providers in the Salem area are in solo practices. Information about who is available to see whom and how soon they can see them isn’t information easily shared among providers. One of the benefits of belonging to WIPA is having a vehicle to easily share information among members resulting in a streamlined process to direct a caller from one WIPA member’s office to another.
Surprisingly, or maybe not so much, the Internet is a tool heavily used by the respondents in seeking information. The desire for providers to have an informational website was high on the patients’ want list.
WIPA maintains a group website that introduces our members to site visitors. The WIPA website further directs visitors to the individual providers’ office websites. Judging from the information obtained on the questionnaires, if a provider does not have a website they should seriously consider getting one.
Most patients responding to the survey reported that they had been referred - by their doctor, a friend, a family member, or a counselor. Surprisingly they seldom were referred by their insurance company.
This bit of information drives home the need for good networking among providers. WIPA is an excellent networking vehicle within the specialty of psychiatry. Joining the Marion-Polk Medical Society is another excellent networking tool. The information also reinforced the truth that, “the best advertising is word of mouth.”
*complete survey information and results available upon request.