According to a recent Angie's List nationwide poll:
• 65 percent estimate they've waited an hour or more to see their health care provider.
• 37 percent say if they've waited a long time to see a doctor, they're less inclined to ask questions.
• Nearly 70 percent weren't informed their provider would be delayed seeing them and more than 55 percent say they didn't receive an apology.
Unfortunately, those times could get worse. Many health care experts and providers tell Angie's List they expect wait times to increase. The problem? Not enough doctors to meet the demands of more patients.
According to a 2012 report from the National Center for Health Statistics, patients wait longer on average to see specialists, but their satisfaction is higher, too.
Preventive care plays a major role in staying healthy. Don't avoid the doctor because of long wait times.
There are steps you can take to help you and your family stay healthy and on schedule.
Angie's List Tips for patients:
1.) When trying to schedule a much-needed appointment with a doctor or specialist, chat up the person who schedules visits and explain why you need to be seen as soon as possible.
2.) Ask to be put on the person's cancellation list and follow up with the scheduler weekly if you're looking for a new doctor or want to see a specialist.
3.) For normal office visits, ask for the first morning or after lunch appointment. Arrive early, bring your medication and a short list of the questions you want most addressed.
4.) If you need more time, ask the scheduler to book two time slots so you don't feel rushed and the next patients aren't kept waiting.
5.) If you have to fill out paperwork, ask if you can do it prior to your appointment, either online or by mail-in.
6.) When your doctor isn't available for same-day appointments, ask to see another doctor, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner.
7.) Visit an urgent care center or retail clinic for routine sick appointments.
8.) Call ahead to make sure your physician is running on time.
9.) 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.