Review of Dr. Angela Risser, MD

— October 24, 2017

Dr. Risser‘s approach to appointments is like Looney Tune’s Roadrunner to say the least. Today was my second and definitely my last visit with her and her sloppy team.

My first and second visits were both equally quick; my husband and I were with her for approximately five minutes. She takes our baby’s heart beat, asks if we have any questions, and that’s it. She has a sunny face and positive demeanor, but it’s like having someone whose in the middle of running a marathon as your doctor. Also, she loves pushing you to see other doctors for the littlest things.

Expectations Check

A sad development in major healthcare institutions has been the rise of assembly-line style appointments, scheduled in 15 minute increments and sometimes sky-high waiting room times. Doctors are held to these new standards of patient care which include seeing a certain number of patients in a day. If doctors don’t meet those quotas, they face the possibility of being let go. With this context in mind, of course you and I can understand why Dr. Risser would be the way she is, but then how are other doctors able to take the other approach and not rush appointments?

A Doctor’s Team Is A Reflection of The Doctor

A big factor in what keeps a doctor from falling behind in their schedule is their team, and that usually comprises of a nurse, a physician’s assistant, and a medical assistant. While it is not always true, in most instances I’ve experienced it to be true that a doctor’s team is a reflection of them. In the case of Dr. Risser’s team, they are the best reason to avoid seeing Dr. Risser.

Odd System

You wait in the waiting room for a while, sometimes as long as half hour, as was the case at my first appointment. A nurse will call your full name and ask you, and only you (and they communicate it intensely if your husband is with you) to come to the back to take your weight, blood pressure, your urine sample and ask you some questions to notate in your chart. Then they put you back out in the waiting room for more waiting.

Why this seemed odd: At other appointments with other doctors (namely my primary care physician (PCP) and official obstetrician/gynecologist (OBGYN) my husband can come with me and we get placed in an exam room after vitals are taken.  Customarily you only get taken to the back if you’re getting close to being seen by the doctor.

Technically Challenged, Or Just Lazy?

On my first visit, Dr. Risser’s nurse couldn’t find my previous visit in Epic, the widely used medical records system. A red flag went up for me when that happened. Another nurse came by to troubleshoot. At my second visit there was a different nurse who was taking my vitals and she asked which number visit this was for me.

Why this seemed odd: Anyone would be able to see my previous appointments in my chart. The nurse taking your vitals is entering notes in your chart on a computer in front of you as the blood pressure machine is reading your pulse. Is it just laziness, or do nurses not have the same ability to see the same amount as a doctor or physician’s assistant in your chart? My primary OB’s nurse and my PCP’s nurse don’t seem to have trouble reading things in my chart, I wonder what Dr. Risser’s team is coming up against when they log in?

Sloppy When It Comes To Logic and Customer Service

At today’s appointment I had forgotten my urine sample cup at home, but we live just a couple minutes driving away from the office. I knew I couldn’t pee for anything at the times so I apologized and offered for my husband to drive home and retrieve the urine sample cup, but the nurse said they would ask Dr. Risser if that was neccessary. She said “we wouldn’t want to make your husband drive all the way home.” Guess what? Dr. Risser never made mention of the urine sample, so my husband and I took that as the urine sample wasn’t crucial. But…before we left the office, the nurse pops out and tells me that my husband would need to go get my urine sample, oh and she needed to take my weight and blood pressure again because she nor the young lady by her side, whom she was training, hadn’t take down my weight and blood pressure.

Why this seemed odd: For one, what were the nurse and her trainee doing when they were notating in my chart? How do you not take down someone’s weight and blood pressure as you’re asking questions and making note of a patient’s responses? Second, why had they waited until just as we were out the door to ask us to get my urine sample cup? We had to wait an additional 10 minutes after my vitals were taken in the waiting room before ultimately being taken to an exam room. Wouldn’t it have made sense to let us know that the doctor needed the urine sample cup then or during the time in the exam room?

The Denouement

I decided to make good use of the short time it took my husband to drive home and back for my urine sample cup by going to radiology to schedule my obstetric ultrasound (to find out the gender of our baby).

I waited by the main door for my husband and we both went back upstairs to give Dr. Risser’s team the cup of urine. We got to the front desk, and luckily I saw the nurse and her trainee walking in the back. I waved a hi, the trainee saw me but she and the nurse kept walking. I was like “what the hell?” So I call out “hey there!” I was done doing anymore waiting on account of Dr. Risser and her team. We were there a solid hour and I was done being cool about everything anymore.

Other Reviews of Dr. Risser

Healthgrades (Average rating: 2/5)

WebMd (Average rating: 3/5)

No Reviews on Google

Update

Monday, November 6th, 2017 — I received a notification from the MyChart phone app that a test result was ready for viewing. Everything was normal, except for one remark which I have written about in this blog post. Someone from Dr. Risser’s team called later in the morning and was completely unprofessional. She did not identify herself and she was definitely not the right person to be delivering any type of message. Luckily I had done my research and didn’t let her scare me into making a hasty decision. I told her politely that Dr. Agarwal was my primary OBGYN and that I would feel more comfortable getting her second opinion on the matter. The lady was caught off guard, but she backed off.

This was another example of how a physician’s team and the way a physician instructs their team can impact their reputation and a patient’s healthcare experience.

For Further Reading

7 Signs That Your OBGYN Sucks

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