A tiny consolation of the high-price health care system for Americans is the notion that at least they get medical attention.

In the recent years, however, longer wait times seem to plague hospitals across the country.

American Wait Times

According to the 2017 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times and Medicare and Medicaid Acceptance Rates, the average wait time for appointments is 24.1 days – a 30% increase from 2014. The number is the highest it has been since the researchers started the survey.

Another study reported by ABC news also reveals that emergency room wait times are generally one hour or more nationwide. This figure is significantly higher than the 46 minutes reported in 2004.

Recommended Solutions for Healthcare Providers

One root cause of the problem is the shortage of physicians and other healthcare staff. This is where locum tenens staffing comes in, which Interimphysicians.com says “solves shortages in care while providing physicians with flexible career options.”

The wait time will likely get longer as the Affordable Care Act takes in more newly insured patients; America is expanding access to care, but it’s not expanding the number of healthcare providers.

Another recommended solution is to use online scheduling services. Revamping the front-line scheduling will work well, too. Schedule surgeries and other non-emergency procedures with supply and demand in mind. Schedule patients on days when the hospital is less likely to have a spike in patient volume in the emergency department.

At times, however, a long wait time in the hospital is unavoidable. Fortunately, patients are much more willing to wait if they know the cause of delays. Use a personal approach to care as well and provide comfortable waiting areas, as these improve their perception of wait times.

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Lengthy wait times to receive medical care have become the norm in many parts of American medicine. But it doesn’t have to be. Providers must rise to the challenge.