E-patient Dave referred me to this article in USA Today, entitled "Wait times to see doctor getting longer." The title says it all, but here's an excerpt:
The survey found that, on average, wait times have increased by 8.6 days per city. Boston had the longest wait, averaging 49.6 days.
But, now look at this marvelous contrast in our hospital, where we have made a concerted effort to reduce wait times. Over one year, the average wait time for all of our medicine clinics has dropped from 13 days to 4.4 days. (The figures are based on a sample of mystery shopping calls.)
Our goal is for all clinics to be under three days. Right now, 6 have been meeting that goal. Another six are in the 3-5 day range. Two are in the 5-10 day range, and one is greater than that. In these last three cases, the reason is that we have doctor vacancies that are being filled in July.
This kind of success takes coordination across multiple areas, constant review of our procedures, use of mystery shoppers to evaluate the patient experience, and transparency of the results both to ourselves and our patients. Speaking of mystery shoppers, our customer service ratings for these clinics had an average of 4.5, on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent). We're still shooting for better -- a goal of 4.8.