Why is it so difficult to get an appointment with your doctor?

Most patients complain about the time they have to wait to see a physician.

Not only the time between an appointment and the office visit, but once there, the time it takes to actually see someone.

After internist Jan Gurley breaks down the numbers, it’s easy to see why. Primary care doctors, on average, have patient panels averaging 2,500 patients or so. Assuming full-time working doctor who only takes the 10 federal holidays off per year, “[patients]  ‘own’ only (50 weeks X 40 hours, minus 10 X 8 hours, minus 50 weeks X 8 hours; divided by 2500) 36 minutes a year of [their] doctor’s time.”

That’s assuming a situation of no delays, no complications, and an efficient practice – traits that are not common in many offices.

And after citing a JAMA study concluding it takes primary care physicians about 18 hours a day to provide the spectrum of recommended preventive care tests and counseling to a typical patient, it’s no wonder that providing good health care is, as Dr. Gurley states, “physically impossible.”

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