Imagine this: You’ve decided you want to be proactive regarding your health, one of the biggest reasons why people choose concierge medicine. You want to catch issues before they become full-blown problems. You want to get that mole checked, address your blood pressure, dive deep into nutrition, and put the same effort into aging well as you do with your retirement plan and the partnership you’ve built with your financial advisor.
In other words, you’re READY. So you make the call to your PCP’s office, eager to get going, only to discover their schedule is a lot different from yours. As in, you’re going to need to wait before you can get an appointment. And wait. And maybe wait some more.
Sadly, this isn’t unusual.
According to a 2017 survey of physician appointment wait times, “it now takes an average of 24 days to schedule a new patient physician appointment in 15 of the largest cities in the U.S.” Seeing specialists for non-emergency issues can rival that—and take longer in some cases.
Wait times are stressful for patients. When you have an ailment — or you simply want to address a concern or ask questions — waiting can wreak havoc on your psyche, with all those “what ifs” going through your head. Sometimes the hardest call to make is that first one to a doctor. So when you actually do call, only to discover you might need to wait upwards of a month or more — well, that can certainly take the wind out of your sails, right?
Doctors feel the effects of this crammed schedule as well but in a different way. As mentioned earlier, a typical PCP might be managing a roster of 3,000 patients, which can result in 25-40 patient visits per day. As such, many physicians in the U.S. feel stressed, overworked, and frustrated, since they can’t deliver the type of care they would like to, simply because there isn’t enough time to do so.