We’ve all been there. You get to your doctor’s appointment on time just to wait, and wait, and wait.
It’s not only annoying, but it is also costing you time.
Now new research from Harvard Medical School has come up with the value of those lost minutes.
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Minorities and the unemployed spend more time waiting
The study found that a usual doctor’s visit takes 121 minutes of the patient’s time, or just over two hours, The Boston Globe reported.
The study broke it down to 37 minutes for travel, 64 minutes waiting and filling out forms. That leaves only 20 minutes for a face-to-face with the doctor.
All that time costs the average patient about $43 in lost time for each appointment, more than the out-of-pocket cost for the actual visit of $32, the Globe reported.
The study also found that minorities and unemployed spend more time waiting, 25 to 28 percent more, JAMA Internal Medicine reported.
Doctors said that is mostly because of longer waiting times at clinics, the Globe reported.
Doctors said they know about the issue and are trying to fix it, but there are some areas where there are too many patients for the doctors available.
They also said that there are some visits that can’t be handled in a 15-to 20-minute appointment, the Globe reported.
The study’s author said he was inspired to do the research when he was a patient. He arrived for an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon and found that 35 people were all scheduled for the 8 a.m. time slot. The doctor expected everyone to wait till he could get to them, the Globe reported.
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For more money-saving advice for your wallet, see our Health section.