Doctor’s visits are so notorious for demanding more time than necessary that every room in a doctor’s office should be called the waiting room. These days, it is typical to wait around 20, 30, 40 minutes before even being admitted to an exam room, and then patients wait some more for their provider to show up and then to receive the proper treatment.
Waiting at the doctor’s office might feel like an inevitability — and it is, to a certain extent. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can cut down on the time you spend waiting around or negotiating with your provider. Here’s how.
You Chose the Wrong Time and Day
If you don’t have much flexibility in your schedule, the best time to go to the doctor’s office is the soonest you can carve out an hour of your day. However, if you have your choice of appointment times, you should try to get into the office as early as possible in the day and the week.
Appointments on Monday morning aren’t popular, either because most people want to get straight to work or else they are still recovering from the weekend. By scheduling your doctor’s visit for this time you are likely to enjoy an emptier waiting room and less time between checking in and seeing your provider.
You Don’t Have an Objective, or You Aren’t Focusing on It
Generally, you don’t need to go to the doctor’s office unless you have a pressing health concern. This concern should guide you during your appointment to ask pointed questions about symptoms or treatment procedures, so neither you nor your provider wastes time on unrelated issues.
Though some patients like to visit their provider for a checkup if they haven’t seen a doctor in a certain period of time, it is best to have some sort of goal even for these kinds of appointments. You might focus on asking for certain types of preventative care. By having an objective and sticking to that objective, you are unlikely to spend undue time in the exam room.
You Can’t Remember Your Medical History
Providers use your medical history to make informed decisions about your current and future treatment. Sometimes, providers are reluctant to make diagnoses, order tests or commit to certain types of treatment if they aren’t certain of a patient’s medical history.
If you come into the doctor’s office with an issue that might be impacted by your history, you need to know that history and relate it to your provider. Otherwise, you could be forced to make another appointment at a later date, once you have learned more about your medical history.
You Didn’t Bring Anyone to Give You Backup
Some types of patients benefit from having a family member or friend attend their doctor’s appointment with them. For example, older patients with diagnoses of dementia or other memory issues might want to bring back up to help them remember their objective or take notes on what their provider says during the appointment.
Young patients, too, often benefit from having an older family member in the exam room to ask questions and sign off on different tests and treatments. Lacking the right backup could extend the length of your appointments and perhaps force you to come back to resolve issues you neglected the first time.
You Aren’t Prepared, Insurance-wise
Having your insurance card — a valid insurance card — should help you speed through the waiting room. Otherwise, you will need to look up your insurance information and relate a string of numbers and letters to the nurse checking you in.
Even before you make it to the doctor’s office, you should take the time to verify that your provider is in your insurance network and that the health services you need will be covered. Otherwise, you could waste time fielding questions and concerns about your insurance from your provider.
You Don’t Need to Be There to Begin With
If you don’t need to go to the doctor’s office, every second you spend there is a waste of time. Many health services can be performed through telehealth, which is much more convenient for both patients and providers.
You can even request an online prescription refill through telehealth platforms, so unless you need an in-person test, there is no reason to spend hours traveling to and from your doctor’s office and waiting in different rooms.
Instead of wasting away in your doctor’s office, you should consider using telehealth to make appointments faster and easier. Otherwise, you can use the other above tips to keep your appointments snappy.