BILLINGS - Do you play the waiting game at your doctor's office? If your answer is yes, it can be quite frustrating. Angie's List report explains what you can do to improve your wait times.
"They finally put me in a room, and I told her when she put me in there, I said I'll wait ten more minutes, because I've been here an hour."
Doris Webb, who is a breast cancer survivor, spent an hour in the waiting room for a doctor's appointment she made a year in advance.
"And in ten minutes, I still hadn't seen the oncologist, so I went out front and asked for my co-pay back and told them I had waited long enough."
Webb is not alone. In an Angie's List poll, 65% said they waited an hour or more to see a health care professional.
The bigger concern: 37% said they felt rushed when they saw the doctor and didn't ask the questions they probably should have.
"There was no apology," said Doris. "But, one of their employees had told me that they were triple-booked that day."
Some health care professionals say times could get worse. The problem? A shortage on doctors to meet the needs of more patients.
"You always feel like you're a number. I didn't feel like I was getting good patient care. How could you if they were triple booked?" Doris questioned.
But, you can take steps to help you and your family stay healthy and on schedule.
"The key here is to check in with the doctor's office before you show up," suggested Angie Hicks, who is the founder of Angie's List. "Find out if they are running on time so that you can adjust your schedule as well. Ask if there is any additional paperwork that you need to fill out ahead of time, because you can do that from home so you're not spending your time in the waiting room."
Another idea is to try to get the early appointments before a doctor can get behind.
Hicks added, "Also, if you are finding it hard to get in to see your doctor they might have a nurse practitioner that can help with every day routine issues."
Doris said, "We are our own advocate and if we don't step up and demand treatment and care and that they be responsible, then we can't expect better."
Angie's List recommends consumers treat health care just like any other hiring decision. If you're still having problems after talking to your doctor, find a new one. There are many great health providers available.