Three Ways to Cut Down Spending Time in Waiting Rooms
Nobody likes to wait, especially if the waiting is keeping you from feeling better. When you’re visiting your primary care, urgent care, women’s health or pediatric physician, it helps to be prepared for your appointment before you arrive in the doctor’s office. Here’s how you can cut time spent in the waiting room.
1. Fill out your paperwork at home
Many physicians provide a patient portal on their website, where you can find registration forms and other essential paperwork to print and fill out. If you do this at home, you minimize the chance that you’ll be missing any data for the forms (like your spouse’s Social Security number or your child’s insurance card information, etc.). The longer it takes you to complete these forms in the waiting room, the longer you’ll have to wait to be invited to the examination room.
2. Verify your insurance in advance
With all the nuances of medical insurance plans these days, it’s easy to miss an important task or detail. Make sure you have any necessary referrals or forms in place (if applicable) before your appointment. Often a missed step with your health insurance provider can result in more than just waiting around; you might find yourself with a cancelled appointment.
3. Arrive early or on time for your appointment
Doctor offices are very active, busy places. If you arrive late for your scheduled appointment, they might be required to give your time slot to somebody else, and that can mean even more waiting for you.
If you do end up with time to kill in the waiting room, there are a few ways you can make the best of it. Bring a notebook and list any questions or concerns you have about your health so you’re prepared to get the most information you can during your appointment. You can also check out the reading material available in the waiting room, especially if the office has medical publications on hand or a bulletin board with informative notices about flu shots, common cold remedies, home breast exams, diaper rash prevention, etc.
Finally, waiting rooms provide an opportunity to relax, practice deep breathing, or collect your thoughts and emotions. Sometimes pressing pause on your hectic life for a little waiting around can be good for your mind and body. Try deep breathing before you reach for your cell phone. It’s usually considered improper waiting room etiquette to talk on the phone in the presence of other patients.