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Monday, February 27, 2012

We had a client yesterday who asked if she could get in and out of the clinic within an hour or so. I told her it wasn’t possible since the sedation alone would require her stay about thirty minutes after her abortion just to make sure she was feeling okay…let alone all the paperwork and labwork we’d need to do prior. She still wanted to get in and out within a maximum of two hours. She was busy and had a lot to do.

I think some clinics have entire abortion appointments that last about two hours. At our clinic, it usually takes four. I mean, of course, the abortion only takes a couple minutes, but women are usually waiting around FOREVER. I often think there’s something wrong with how either we schedule people or how we organize the appointment flow since sometimes people are at our clinic for even more than five hours. Patients complain a lot about this and I can’t blame them. It’s not like our waiting room is super comfortable or welcoming (sadly, I find this is true in a lot of clinics).

On one hand, as abortioneers, we want to spread the message that abortion is a simple and common procedure (it is!), but we make women wait ages in either over- or under- heated waiting rooms between labwork, counseling, and their abortion. They fill out millions of pieces of paper that ask for a lot of the same information repeatedly. We definitely are sending mixed messages: if abortion is simple and common, why would you be in the clinic for over three hours?

The abortion-to-go girl is right, in my opinion. If a patient is totally sure of her decision (most are by the time they come in, or else they just don’t show up for their appointment…usually), then we should be able to accommodate them and get them through their appointments quickly. That might mean clinics need to think outside the box a little and be more creative in scheduling and in how they process appointments, but they should do that then. Let women fill out their paperwork online, for example. (Or clinics should move to electronic medical records!) What if patients could make payments online before their appointment? I think clinics are so far behind technology now…imagine if a client could even book her appointment with her iPhone because the clinic has an app for that. I think it could happen.

Anyway, I really think we can all do better at actually providing abortion services in a more quick and efficient manner while holding onto warm and kind staff (who of course will be more kind and warm if patients are happy and not complaining!). What do you guys think?


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