El Paso has the longest doctor’s office waiting times in the country, a new study shows.
The average patient wait time at an El Paso doctor’s office was just over 29 minutes — well above the national average of 21 minutes, shows a new study done by Vitals.com, an online service which provides data about doctors for consumers.
Four other Texas cities — Fort Worth, San Antonio, Arlington and Houston — were among the top 10 cities with the longest waiting times.
Some doctor’s offices in other parts of the country and many hospitals, including some in El Paso, are using wait tracking systems to broadcast wait times to patients, so patients can spend less time in waiting rooms.
“Patient satisfaction is a key part of the success of any medical practice. If wait times cause patients to become dissatisfied with their doctors and (they) look for another medical provider, I would assume more doctors will be concerned and focus on it,” Jeff Cutler, executive vice president of New Jersey-based Vitals.com, said in an e-mail.
Vitals sifted through 314,000 wait time reports from patients, including 519 in El Paso, to come up with averages by city. Some of the doctor profiles on Vitals contain the doctor’s average office wait time.
“In many ways, it is not surprising that patient wait times in El Paso are among the nation’s highest. El Paso is under-served for health care across the spectrum of ages and specialties,” Dr. Michael Romano, associate dean for clinical affairs at the Texas Tech University medical school in El Paso, said in an e-mail. “In addition, our community struggles with a disproportionate burden of chronic disease, such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension that require recurrent health provider visits.”
Minneapolis had the shortest average wait time at just over 16 minutes.