How to Spend Less Time Waiting for the Doctor

House Call Doctor has 7 tips for patients and 6 tips for doctors about how to streamline the primary care process so that you can spend less time frustrated in the waiting room.

Sanaz Majd, MD
5-minute read
Episode #180

Tip #5: Confirm or Modify the Reasons for Your Visit When You Arrive

After arriving for your appointment, reiterate (or if your reasons for the visits have changed since you made the appointment, be sure to modify) the list of reasons for your visit at the very beginning of your visit. Again, this is to ensure that the doctor has enough time to address all your concerns.

Tip #6: Keep the Itinerary to a Minimum

Remember, for a 20-minute visit, your doctor has likely only 15 minutes to spend discussing your needs (and 5 minutes to document) in order to avoid running late for the next patient. 

The doctor will need to take a detailed history for each complaint you present, do an exam, order tests, write the prescriptions, and document your entire visit in that short time span. This is why it’s best to keep your concerns to 1 or 2 per visit.

However, if you have a constellation of symptoms and are uncertain if they correlate, that’s a different story. Of course you will need to reveal everything so that your doctor has a clearer overall picture – that goes without saying.

Tip #7: Use Technology to the Max

If your doctor offers patients the opportunity to communicate over a secured patient portal, I strongly recommend that you learn how to use it. 

If your doctor offers you the chance to complete forms online before your visit, find out how to do this in order to save time while at the office.

These are 7 easy tips to help you spend less time at the doctor’s office and more time doing what you’d rather be doing. Incidentally, these tips will also help your doctor stay on track and curb the constant lateness.

But patients aren’t the only ones who can take steps to improve the situation. There are things doctors can do to benefit their patients and save everyone time and frustration. Check out my 6 tips for doctors.

Do you have other suggestions for doctors or patients? Be sure to post them in Comments below or on the House Call Doctor's Facebook and Twitter pages!  You can even find me on Pinterest! If you have any future topic suggestions, you can email me at housecalldoctor@quickanddirtytips.com.  Have a healthy week! 


Medical Disclaimer
Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only. This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider. Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.

About the Author

Sanaz Majd, MD

Dr. Sanaz Majd is a board-certified Family Medicine physician who graduated from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. Her special interests are women's health and patient education.