Long wait times lead to multiple patient complaints

Medical offices across the country still have a ways to go in improving patient wait time and customer service issues surrounding delays, according to a new poll from Angie's List, WFMY News 2 reported.

According to this leading online consumer review site, patients reported the following experiences at physician practices:

  • 65 percent estimate they've waited an hour or more to see their provider.
  • 37 percent say if they've waited a long time to see a doctor, they feel rushed and are less inclined to ask questions. 
  • Nearly 70 percent weren't informed their provider would be delayed seeing them.
  • More than 55 percent say they didn't receive an apology for the delay. 

One patient interviewed by WFMY News recounted how she took a stand against excessive wait time at her doctor's office, stating that after spending an hour in the waiting room, she informed the employee who placed her in the room that she was willing to wait just 10 minutes more to see the doctor.

"And in 10 minutes, I still hadn't seen my oncologist. So I went out and asked for my copay back," she said. "There is no apology, but one of the employees told me they were triple-booked that day," she added.

With health reform threatening to stretch physician offices even thinner, the time is now to make expanded access part of your strategic planning. What's more, practices need patient-friendly policies to enact when delays do occur, such as informing patients of wait times and apologizing for inconveniences. Offices who don't take these steps may find it increasingly hard to compete with retail clinics for patients who want to receive efficient care.

To learn more:
- see the story from WFMY News 2