Normally when we talk about the long waits at clinics, hospitals and emergency rooms, we look at it from the perspective of the medical practitioners involved and the facilities themselves. With less waiting and more efficiency, more patients could be seen, which ultimately means more money and less wasted time for the medical providers.
But a recent study has turned the lens of examination on the patients themselves and found that, on average, after factoring in travel time, fuel consumption and a loose, averaged estimate of wages lost for a medical visit, most patients lose $43 on a visit. The average out-of-pocket cost for a visit is already $32. And this is not even taking into consideration the effort required by some people to juggle a schedule and make it possible to visit a clinic, hospital or some other facility on any given day, especially if children are involved.
In terms of time, the figures become even more disturbing. The same study looks at the amount of time required for the average patient to have a medical consultation. About 121 minutes—just a hair over two hours—is the average amount of time required for a patient to get a consultation. 37 minutes are spent in travel, 64 minutes are spent waiting, with only 20 minutes of actual interaction with a medical practitioner. The combination of time and money for America totals in at an astounding 1.1 billion hours for people conducting medical consultations either for themselves or their children, costing $52 billion.
When it’s factored in how much of that consultation time is genuine interaction versus the medical practitioner doing the required paperwork, the figure becomes even more alarming. Now that the Affordable Care Act is more widespread in its use, there are more people than ever seeking medical attention, which means more waiting than ever too.
This is one of the reasons why professional medical scribes like our ProScribe staff are invaluable in the medical industry. By taking on the medical documentation and EHR duties that can consume so much of a medical practitioner’s time, patients can receive the full attention of a doctor or nurse practitioner, and with less waiting time. Reducing the time spent waiting and increasing the quality of actual patient/practitioner interaction is one of the best ways to save everyone both time and money.
A drop off in daily patient visits at any hospital or clinic is unlikely to happen. So it’s up to the clinics and hospitals to make sure that as little time and money is wasted for both the medical industry, and the people they serve. A ProScribe is one more way to do that.