Report: 20% of patients have changed doctors because of long wait times

Patient satisfaction and physician ratings are directly influenced by wait times before appointments, Vitals’ ninth annual wait time report suggests.

Thirty percent of surveyed patients reported they’ve walked out of an appointment due to a long wait, while 20 percent said they’ve changed doctors because of wait times.

The average wait time across the United States was 18 minutes, 13 seconds—down 22 seconds from last year—and the fourth straight year in which wait times have decreased, according to a press release that coincided with the report’s publication.

Unsurprisingly, the highest-rated physicians on Vitals saw their patients the quickest. Five-star doctors had an average wait time of 13:17, while one-star docs averaged more than 34 minutes. Each lost star in the ratings system was associated with an incremental increase in wait time.

Milwaukee had the shortest average wait time of all cities in 2018 at 14:35. Seattle, Saint Paul and Minneapolis also checked in at under 15 minutes. On the other hand, El Paso ranked at the bottom of the ranking for the seventh year in a row at 26:50. The next-longest average times were found in Memphis (23:44), Miami (22:19) and Las Vegas (21:19).

Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Washington and Maine had the shortest wait times of all states, while Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia and Louisiana had the longest.