If you have ever been a patient at my office or have dealt with me on the phone you know I’m a one-man show. You would also know how much I care for each of you and how generous I am with my time. These facts have not changed. What has changed is an increasing number of patients emailing or calling-in asking questions requiring a detailed or lengthy response, well above needing just a yes or no answer. Because of this, I have been forced to lay down some new ground rules.
I wish I could continue, without a change, but it’s getting just too difficult to run an efficient practice while responding to an hour or two worth of emails and phone calls per day. That’s 10-20+ requests per day, requiring 10 to 15+ minutes each and it’s seven days a week. I hope I’m not sounding unreasonable here.
Email and Phone Policy
1. I will respond to periodic emails (preferred method) and phone calls – As long as they are formatted needing ONLY a yes, no, or a type of product… as a response. Examples:
- “Dr. Ettinger, can I take my calcium on empty stomach?” Yes
- “Do you have a recommendation for Ringworm? Tinactin Cream
- “Do you have something for kidney stones?” Yes, Chanca Piedra Tea
- “I have a pain in my side, should I come in?” Yes
These questions only need a simple and quick response. If they are presented to me in a way that requires more than a yes or no or product… Please see #3 below.
2. The types of questions that will get “Google it” as an answer: “what stretches are good for my back?” or “what is magnesium used for?” These questions are perfect for the internet.
3. Emails requiring a detailed response or review of information (more than yes or no) will be billed at $25 for each (5) five-minute block of time used. This will be added onto your next follow-up visit or billed to your credit card if you’re not actively coming in. In the email response, I will detail how much time I spent reviewing your data or responding to your question. Examples:
- “Please look at this video or link to a product and give me your feedback”
- “I just got my labs in, can you review them and get back to me”
- “Can you give me a diet and exercise recommendations for my son who’s playing high school football this year”
- “I have a friend that was just diagnosed with cancer. What can she start taking and doing…?”
Yes, these are common requests that I get every day and they take 10-15+ minutes each to respond to.
4. Phone calls requiring a detailed response will require a separate time and phone call to handle your question. Please let me know at the beginning of the phone call that you have a detailed question and would like to set-up a callback time.
- If your case is new and/or complicated, book more time in for your follow-up visits. Write any questions down beforehand to save time. There are no dumb questions. I’m here to help you achieve optimal health. All office visits are booked in 15-minute blocks of time.
- Google it first. If you can’t find the answer or if need more clarification, read #1, 3, and 4 above.