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Is that trip to your gynecologist worth it?

The Clinic By Dr. Alfred Murage
Photo; Courtesy

There is a good chance you have made repeated visits to a gynecologist, for the same reason at some point in your life. It typically starts with a consultation, followed by some tests. It's not unusual for the results to be ready days later, mandating another visit. You then dutifully make the visit to discuss results, which opens up the opportunity for another visit to have some intervention done. Is it all procrastination, or warranted delays?

Enter the world of one-stop gynecology services. As the name sounds, this is a one-stop service meant to improve efficiency, cost-effectiveness and satisfaction in gynecology care. The ultimate is to aim for a single visit, where everything gets done. Test results are available immediately, and treatment decisions are made before you leave. Minor procedures get done the same day. No subsequent visits in the immediate term, only long-term follow-up is required.

Many gynecological conditions are amenable to one-stop care. Think of conditions like heavy menstrual bleeding, minor genital infections, or pelvic pain. Even some common early pregnancy problems can easily be sorted on single visits. What is required is skill, the right equipment and commitment to render services as efficiently as possible.

Consider a typical scenario. You come in to consult with some abnormal bleeding and pelvic pain. A pelvic scan becomes necessary, but has to be booked in the ultrasound department at the next available slot. The slots tend not to favour your availability, but that of the service providers. Days later, your scan results are available, but you have to secure another appointment with your gynecologist. Your interest is getting the symptoms sorted quickly, but decisions drag on and on.

Could you have had your scan done the same day? And was it possible you could have gone away the first time with all decisions made? Definitely yes. And that's what you must always expect, and demand. A lot of time is wasted shuffling between hospital corridors, making repeated visits, and spending way too much in medical care. It's in your interest to limit the amount of time you spend pursuing a single set of symptoms, which can easily be addressed with a single visit.

Do your homework and consult where efficiency is a matter of routine. You want quick decisions, but no cutting corners. Waiting for several days to have a decision-enhancing test done is hardly acceptable. So is having to come back for an extra appointment just to discuss the results and make final decisions. Attempts must be made to get stuff done timely, and decisions made without undue delays.

Keep a critical eye on the number of visits you make to hospitals and clinics. If the visits add up to more than one or two for the same ailment, that may be too many. Find out why, the reasons better be good enough.

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