Did you know it takes an average of 24 days to schedule a first appointment with a doctor in the U.S.? Yet, when an unexpected medical event occurs, the last thing you want is to wait for days or weeks to see a physician. Whether you need a regular checkup or you have an emergency, seeing a doctor sooner can prevent complications, ease discomfort, and save you money in the long run.
So, what can you do to get an appointment with your doctor sooner? Read on to learn some tips that actually work.
Book an Appointment With an Online Doctor
It’s hard to see a doctor at the office when they have a fully packed schedule. And sometimes, work constraints may force you to cancel an appointment you made days before. But thanks to advancements in medical technology, you can now talk to a doctor from the comfort of your home. These doctors offer online appointments — and they are the same qualified and certified physicians you see at the hospital or clinic.
By using the dedicated video conferencing or chat tool, you can book an appointment in minutes and consult a doctor at any time of the day. For instance, online doctors NZ can diagnose conditions, prescribe medication, help you manage your illness, and conduct follow-up — all over the internet. Now, you don’t need to worry about appointment delays or the inconvenience of a trip to the clinic. With just your smartphone and a connection, you can start receiving efficient and quality health care.
Avoid the Medical Rush Hour
Every industry has a rush hour — even medical clinics. Most patients prefer to see a doctor on weekdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. This means doctors are at their busiest during these time slots. To increase your chances of seeing a physician, book during the slower hours. That could be around 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. during the week.
Since Tuesdays generally have the most bookings of a week, the chances are that it also has the most cancellations, since it is one of the busiest workdays. If your schedule isn’t tight on a Tuesday, you can take advantage of another patient’s last-minute cancellation. Call the doctor’s office around 9 a.m. and inquire if a new opening has come up. You can even ask to be updated if a slot appears later in the day.
Be Nice to Nurses and Receptionists
This lesson applies everywhere in life, but even more so at a doctor’s office. In nearly every clinic, the front desk staff is in charge of appointments. So, don’t just make friends with your doctor, striking a rapport with the receptionist and nurse can help you access your doctor faster in the future. Offer a friendly greeting each time you visit the clinic, engage in some small talk, and remember to say goodbye when leaving. When you call with an urgent request, they’ll remember you, and may try to find an available window to squeeze you in.
Get a Referral or See a Different Doctor
If it seems impossible to see your doctor within one day, ask if you can consult another physician at the clinic. It’s better than waiting, especially when you need urgent care. If there is a doctor with free slots, you’ll receive treatment sooner. If your problem requires a specialist, look for one who has an established relationship with your primary care provider. Doctors who partner together may share information, helping you receive better care.
Remember: The Longer You Wait, the Higher the Risks
Although there is a shortage of doctors, you can’t afford to wait for days when you or a family member has an immediate health concern. The above tips will help you reduce your wait time dramatically. And if you feel your doctor is always unavailable when you need help the most, you may need to explore new options to make sure you can get the help you need.