How long is the average wait at a physician's office?

When Americans goes to their physicians' office, they spend an average of 19 minutes and 16 seconds waiting to see their clinician, according to Vitals' annual "Physician Wait Time Report."

The good news is the wait is dropping — down more than a full minute from last year's average — despite increased healthcare coverage under the PPACA. However, wait times vary greatly, depending on specialty and location.

Here are the specialists with the shortest average wait times.

  • Psychologist: 11 minutes 33 seconds
  • Dentist: 13 minutes, 31 seconds
  • Radiation oncology: 13 minutes, 55 seconds
  • Osteopath: 14 minutes, 29 seconds
  • Phlebologist: 14 minutes, 52 seconds
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeon: 14 minutes, 55 seconds
  • Plastic surgeon: 15 minutes, 22 seconds
  • Allergy & immunology specialist: 15 minutes, 54 seconds
  • Radiologist: 16 minutes, 40 seconds
  • Psychiatrist: 16 minutes, 43 seconds

Patients waiting for emergency physicians or general practitioners have the longest to wait: Those wait times average 24 minutes, 41 seconds and 22 minutes, respectively.

Wait times also differ by geographic location. Out of the 50 largest cities in the U.S., the following five boast the shortest wait times.

  • Portland, Ore. — 15 minutes, 48 seconds
  • Minneapolis — 15 minutes, 57 seconds
  • Seattle — 15 minutes, 58 seconds
  • Milwaukee — 16 minutes, 4 seconds
  • Omaha, Neb. — 16 minutes, 22 seconds

The longest average waits reported were 26 minutes, 21 seconds in El Paso. The longest wait overall clocked nearly 40 minutes; patients waiting for a pain management specialist in El Paso, Texas waited an average of 36 minutes, 38 seconds, according to the report.

 

More articles on integration and physician issues:

University of Minnesota opens nurse practitioner clinic
Kenneth Kaufman: Healthcare without gatekeepers
5 ways the PPACA has impacted physicians

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