The time patients spend in a doctor’s waiting room prior to a scheduled appointment is an important component of the quality of the overall health care experience, according to a study published in Health Affairs. For the study, researchers analyzed data on twenty-one million outpatient visits obtained from electronic health record systems, which allowed them to measure time spent in the waiting room beyond the scheduled appointment time. The study found that Medicaid patients were 20 percent more likely than the privately insured patients to wait longer than twenty minutes, with most of this disparity explained by differences in practices and providers they saw. Wait times for Medicaid patients relative to privately insured patients were longer in states with relatively lower Medicaid reimbursement rates. The study complements other work that suggests that Medicaid patients face some additional barriers in the receipt of care.
- Outpatient Office Wait Times And Quality Of Care For Medicaid Patients. Health Affairs. May 2017