How to Spend Less Waiting Time on Medical Appointments?
Tell your thoughts on your last medical appointment!
Medical appointments are annoying. Not only because they are set in preparation to avoid illnesses or for fighting diseases after getting infected, they are also annoying because of waiting-time. 2008 the German health-insurance BKK Dachverband did a survey on 2.955 people in the age over 14, to get to know how many days they spent waiting for their last medical appointment. Not surprising but also not satisfying, people with a mandatory health insurance and acute health issues had to wait 8 days in average for their appointment. In comparison, people with a private insurance had to wait just 3 days in average. BKK also found out, that patients without acute health-issues would wait 26 days, if they have a mandatory insurance and 12 days in average, if they have a private insurance. (BKK Dachverband, 2008) Additionally, a statistic from KBV, which displays waiting times from 2008 to 2019, is showing a trend that the waiting time for medical appointments is increasing. (KBV, 2019)
Average waiting time
(BKK Dachverband, 2008)
2017 Statista started an online survey in the UK, where patients could tell their opinion on how long they have waited for their appointment. With the 1.016 participants, 36% of females and 30% of males responded that the waiting time in the practice or hospital was rather long and 17% of females and 21% of males responded that the waiting time was too long. So, in total 53% of females and 51% of males stated that the waiting time in practices in the UK are long, which makes more than half of the asked people. (Statista, 2017)
Opinion on waiting time
One time someone told me about the existence of mobile apps for setting medical appointments. For each country these apps may differ in functions, but the main purpose remains the same. Some of them give practices and hospitals the opportunity to sign in on the app and publish their appointment schedule. So, if a patient cancels an appointment last minute, the doctor can publish the timeframe and a patient with a similar issue can take this timeframe short-dated into account. As a win-win situation the practice doesn’t lose money with the lost patient and the new patient can perceive his appointment earlier.
Some other apps make it possible to have a talk with a doctor via video conference or via chat. Of course, it is not the same as to visit a doctor in person, but still, it is a fast alternative to get an answer to urgent questions in short term.
This type of digitalization in the medical sector would be a benefit for both sides. The only problem is that in every country there are different laws stated by governments and insurances managing the behavior of medical facilities. As a result, and because of other reasons, not all practices are joining such online platforms. Maybe if there would be more users, they would get forced to join them. So, here are some apps I found on the internet for different countries. Some of them are fee-based but others are complimentary:
App zum Doc
Table 1: Mobile apps for medical appointments in different countries
If you are missing an app or you know some apps for countries which are not mentioned yet, let me know in the comment section. I would like to fill the table for all countries of the world with complimentary alternatives.
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BKK Dachverband. (2008). Durchschnittliche Wartezeit für einen Arzttermin nach Art der Beschwerden und dem Versicherungsstatus in Tagen. Statista. Statista GmbH. Accessed: February 26, 2020.
KBV. (2019). Wartezeit für einen Arzttermin in Deutschland in den Jahren 2008 bis 2019. Statista. Statista GmbH. Accessed: February 26, 2020.
Statista. (2017). How long do you usually have to wait to get a doctor's appointment at a practice or a hospital?. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: February 26, 2020.