Surveys show that patients now have to wait longer than expected to receive appointments with doctors. According to some experts, this is caused by the shortage of physicians, electronic health records, alongside some other reasons.
Well, getting a doctor’s appointment should not be so difficult, provided you can wait for three weeks if not longer. If you cannot wait, you can see a private doctor in London.
From a survey we studied, we realised that for the past ten years, the wait time to see a doctor has slowly reached its peak being 24 days this year. Experts associate this increase to many reasons. One of them is that there are not enough physicians. Also, they spoke about the rise in the number of people that are covered by health insurance, and the extra burden on the doctors which require them to spend more time working with the electronic medical records.
There are also various implications of this. According to the experts, they say that people avoid meeting with their appointments for preventative medicine, and this has made the number of people rushing into the hospitals for emergency care to skyrocket.
This survey of physician appointment wait times was done in 2017 and conducted by Merritt Hawkins. This is a reputable healthcare consulting company.
Let’s examine the statistics
The doctors that were used for this survey were from five specialities in the medical profession. These specialities include cardiology, dermatology, family medicine, obstetrics/gynaecology, and orthopaedic surgery.
Researchers on this survey said that this year, the wait time for an appointment with a physician has increased to 24 days. This report is compared with the 18 days wait time in 2014, 20 in 2009, and 21 in 2004.
When Merritt Hawkins did a survey similar to this in 15 midsize regions that had about 90,000 to 140,000 people, they realised that they had to wait even longer for appointments. In rural areas, doctor’s appointments had an even more extended period of 32 days. This means that their case is 33% higher than those in the metro regions.
In a press release, Mark Smith, the president of Merritt Hawkins, said that it is relatively difficult to find a doctor you can book and see on the same day or three weeks from the booking. He said that this is not only a challenge in the rural area as those in the cities with a higher amount of doctors still have a feel of it. However, the rural areas seem to suffer the most as the doctors sent there are fewer compared to the population.
Why we have an increased waiting time
The primary reason for more waiting time is based on the law of demand and supply. There are more demands than the available doctors on ground. So, until there are enough doctors to attend to every patient, there will still be a long time for patients to wait for appointments.
According to the report, it is also because more people have received health insurance which now makes healthcare affordable for many, if not all. Another problem is in the increase of the patients. At first, it seemed like there were enough doctors until patients started developing more issues than expected. This can be taken as an outcome of the patients not receiving preventive care. This makes more sense seeing that the report noted that the increase in the number of patients came from people from the ages of 55 and above.
Experts from this survey also stated that since electronic health records were introduced, doctors now have to share their time between working on the health records and meeting one on one with patients.
Form another survey done last year by the same consulting firm; it was discovered that 33% cent of doctors believe that this introduction of electronic health records is reducing the quality of care they offer their patients. This seems to be literal seeing from the survey and two other surveys that for every hour the doctor spends with patients, he spends double that time working on the electronic health records and other tasks relating to administration.
The implications of longer waits
After examining this survey, we realised that the following are the outcomes of longer waits by patients.
The experts stated that people who wanted to meet with the doctor for regular or preventative medicine appointments might just skip. This can lead to severe consequences as time goes on. It can cause people to develop more severe symptoms of illnesses.
In a situation where people cannot meet with their doctors on time, they may proceed to book an appointment with a private doctor. This is okay if the patients are going through pains or have a severe health problem.
If you need a private doctor in London to help you out with your health issues, visit at www.walkinclinic.london to get an immediate response.