Angie's List: Tips to cut down doctor's office wait times - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Angie's List: Tips to cut down doctor's office wait times

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WISCONSIN (WKOW/ANGIE'S LIST) -- Do you play the waiting game at your doctor's office?  If your answer is yes, it can be quite frustrating, but Angie's List has some tips about what you can do to improve wait times.

A nationwide poll found 65 percent of respondents have waited more than an hour to see a health care professional.

Breast cancer survivor Doris Webb is one of them.  She was kept waiting for an appointment she made a year in advance.

"They finally put me in a room and I told her when she put me in there I said, ‘I'll wait 10 more minutes because I've been here an hour.' And in 10 minutes I still hadn't seen the oncologist, so I went out front and asked for my co-pay back and told them I had waited long enough," Webb said.

Even more alarming, 37 percent of people polled said when they got into the doctor they felt rushed and probably didn't ask the questions they should have.

"Which just means they are probably not getting the care that they really need," Angie Hicks from Angie's List said.

Those times could get worse too.  Many health care experts and providers tell Angie's List they expect wait times to increase.  The problem? Not enough doctors to meet the demands of more patients.

"There was no apology, but one of their employees had told me that they were triple-booked that day," Webb said.

However, there are steps you can take to help you and your family stay healthy and on schedule.

"The poll also found that 70 percent of the respondents didn't know ahead of time that their doctor was running late and 55 percent didn't receive an apology that they were running late," Hicks said.  "The key here is to check in with the doctor's office before you show up.  Find out if they are running on time so that you can adjust your schedule as well. Ask if there is any additional paperwork that you need to fill out ahead of time because you can do that from home so you're not spending your time in the waiting room," Hicks said.

"You always feel like you're a number. I didn't feel like I was getting good patient care. How could you if they were triple-booked?" Webb said.

Preventative care is the key to good health. Angie's List says you don't want to skip going to the doctor, but when you are scheduling, plan ahead.

Try to get an appointment first thing in the morning.  "Right at the beginning of the day, they can't be behind," Hicks explained.  "Additionally, right after lunch is a good spot because they have taken a break and likely have caught up. Also, if you are finding it hard to get in to see your doctor they might have a nurse practitioner that can help with every day routine issues."

Angie's List recommends consumers treat health care just like any other hiring decision.  If you're still having problems after talking to your doctor, find a new one.  There are many great health providers available.

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