Patient Wait Times Reaching Record Highs

Related topics: Quality of Care
March 20, 2015

Patient Wait Times Reaching Record Highs

Playing the waiting game is not something you want to be doing when you’re in need of medical care. But that seems to be the most common past time for ailing Americans, with many people waiting several weeks just to see their doctor. When you consider how important timing can be for catching certain illnesses, a long wait time is especially nerve-wracking.

In this article from The Washington Post we get a look at what residents of some of the country’s most prominent cities are going through when they try to schedule an appointment with their doctor. The study that the article makes reference to was performed by Merritt Hawkins, a physician consulting firm. What the study found was that of the 15 cities they researched, 12 of them had patient wait times of 14 days or longer. That means that someone identified a concern they have about their health and then had to wait more than two weeks get any answers.

The study tracked how long a patient must wait to see a specialist (cardiologists, dermatologists, gynecologists, etc.) and how long the average person has to wait to see their family physician. Among the list of big cities such as New York, Seattle, Minneapolis, Denver, and Los Angeles, Boston ended up having the longest wait times in both cases.

To see a specialist, Boston residents have to wait an average of 45 days. To see their family doctor, the people of Boston are waiting an average of 66 days.

One piece of good news to come from this is that the overall average of these cities has actually gone down since the last time this study was performed. In 2009, the average specialist wait time in Boston was 50 days.

There are a great many reasons why these statistics are the way they are. We’ve covered the shortage of primary care physicians in a previous blog.

“We have too few providers, which is creating a significant access problem,” said Travis Singleton, Senior Vice President of Merritt Hawkins.

The obvious problem here is that people are waiting a long time to receive medical care, and not all patients have time to wait. Most of these people will hear how long they have to wait for their doctor and they’ll go straight to the emergency room or urgent care so that they can find a solution to their problem right away. This causes huge unnecessary bills for the patient and often the employer of the patient.

If you need to talk to your doctor under Paladina Health, your wait time won’t be much longer than it takes you to dial their phone number. With 24/7 access to your doctor, you may even be able to avoid a costly ER visit by getting medical care over the phone or with a same- or next-day appointment at Paladina Health.

Paladina Health doesn’t make you wait, Paladina Health helps you feel better. Enroll today to see the world of difference it makes to have your health cared for by Paladina Health.

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