Angie's List: Waiting at the Doctor's Office

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Updated: 8/22/2013 10:43 pm

No one likes the play the waiting game at the doctor's office. In this Angie’s List report, what you can do to improve wait times.

Breast cancer survivor Doris Webb spent an hour in the waiting room for a doctor’s appointment she made a year in advance.

“They finally put me in a room and I told her when she put me in there I said ‘I’ll wait ten more minutes because I’ve been here an hour.’ And in ten minutes I still hadn’t seen the oncologist so I went out front and asked for my co-pay back and told them I had waited long enough,” Webb explains.

A nationwide Angie’s List poll found Webb was not alone in her experience. There is a lot of frustration with wait times.
“We did a recent Angie’s List poll and 65 percent of the respondents said they waited an hour or more to see a health care professional, but what was more alarming in the poll was that 37 percent of them, when they got into see the doctor, felt rushed and didn’t ask the questions they probably should have, which just means they are probably not getting the care that they really need,”  said Angie's List founder Angie Hicks.

And those times could get worse.

“There was no apology, but one of their employees had told me that they were triple-booked that day,” Webb said.

Many health care experts and providers tell Angie’s List they expect wait times to increase. The problem is there are not enough doctors to meet the demands of more patients. But there are steps you can take to help you and your family stay healthy and on schedule.

“The key here is to check in with the doctor’s office before you show up. Find out if they are running on time so that you can adjust your schedule as well. Ask if there is any additional paperwork that you need to fill out ahead of time because you can do that from home so you’re not spending your time in the waiting room,” Hicks said.

“We are our own advocate and if we don’t step up and demand treatment and care and that they be responsible, then we can’t expect better,” Webb added.

Angie’s List recommends consumers treat health care just like any other hiring decision. If you’re still having problems after talking to your doctor, find a new one. There are many great health providers available.

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