Wait Time Affects Providers’ Ratings

Wait Time Affects Providers’ Ratings

Recent wait time research by Vitals, a consumer physician-choice service, indicates the amount of time patients cool their heels in your waiting room is the most important factor in their overall experience at a doctor’s office.

The overall wait time appears to affect a physician’s rating on Vitals’ database. Physicians with five stars had a 13 minute, 17 second average wait. Those with one start averaged a 34 minute, 11 second wait.

Wait Time Makes Patients Walk

The 9th Vitals Index study found that 84 percent of participants believe wait time is is either “somewhat important” or “very important” to their overall experience. While 1 in 5 surveyed say they’ve changed doctors because of long wait times, 30 percent claim to have walked out of an appointment after long waits.

So how does wait time affect a physician’s rating?

Star Rating Average Wait Time
5 13 min, 17 sec
4 21 min, 32 sec
3 22 min, 11 sec
2 29 min, 34 sec
1 34 min, 11 sec

Vitals said that surprisingly those with the poorest access to healthcare are more likely to walk out of an appointment because of a long wait time with 53 percent having left. Only 20 percent of people with excellent access to top-quality physicians have walked out the office.

Wait Time by Geographic Area

The average wait time nationally is 18 minutes, 13 seconds, according to the study. But wait times are geographically linked. Below are the cities with the shortest and longest wait times.

2018 Cities with Shortest Wait Time

City Average Wait Time
Milwaukee 14 min, 35 sec
Seattle 14 min, 38 sec
Saint Paul 14 min, 43 sec
Minneapolis 14 min, 55 sec
Portland 15 min, 6 sec

2018 Cities with Longest Wait Time

City Average Wait Time
El Paso 26 min, 50 sec
Memphis 23 min, 44 sec
Miami 22 min, 29 sec
Las Vegas 21 min, 19 sec
Fort Worth 21 min, 1 sec

States with the shortest and longest wait times are below:

018 States with Shortest Wait Time

State Average Wait Time
Wisconsin 13 min, 23 sec
New Hampshire 14 min, 17 sec
Washington 15 min, 2 sec
Maine 15 min, 8 sec
Minnesota 15 min, 10 sec

 2018 States with Longest Wait Time

State Average Wait Time
Alabama 22 min, 19 sec
Mississippi 22 min, 13 sec
West Virginia 21 min, 23 sec
Louisiana 20 min, 35 sec
Nevada 20 min, 29 sec
Brad Ericson

Brad Ericson

Director of Publishing at AAPC
Brad Ericson, MPC, CPC, COSC, has been director of publishing for more than 11 years. Before AAPC he was at Optum for 13 years and Aetna Health Plans prior to that. He has been writing and publishing about healthcare since 1979. He received his Bachelor's in Journalism from Idaho State University and his Master's of Professional Communication degree from Westminster College of Salt Lake City.
Brad Ericson

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About Has 344 Posts

Brad Ericson, MPC, CPC, COSC, has been director of publishing for more than 11 years. Before AAPC he was at Optum for 13 years and Aetna Health Plans prior to that. He has been writing and publishing about healthcare since 1979. He received his Bachelor's in Journalism from Idaho State University and his Master's of Professional Communication degree from Westminster College of Salt Lake City.

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