Angie's List: How to cut down on doctor's office wait times

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Do you play the waiting game at your doctor's office? If your answer is yes, it can be quite frustrating.

"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," Angie's Lists' Angie Hicks said.  "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."

Many health care experts and providers tell Angie's List they expect wait times to increase because there aren't 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 poll showed 70 percent of people didn't know ahead of time that their doctor was running late. And 55 percent didn't receive an apology that they were running late.

The key here is to check-in with the doctor's office before you show up to find out if they are running on time so that you can adjust your schedule. Also, ask if there is any additional paperwork that you need to fill out ahead of time you can do from home so you're not spending your time in the waiting room.

"Preventative care is the key to good health. You don't want to skip going to the doctor, but when you are scheduling plan ahead. If you can see if you can get into the doctor first thing in the morning, right at the beginning of the day, they can't be behind," Hicks said.

Right after lunch is a good time for appointments because they have taken a break and likely have caught up. Also, if you are finding it hard to get in to see your doctor they might have a nurse practitioner that can help with every day routine issues.

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.

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