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Six Ways to See a Doctor Faster

Do you sometimes have to wait a long time to see your doctor? Here are some tips for getting the care you need faster.

September 30, 2016 | HF Healthy Living Team

When you make an appointment with your doctor, are you sometimes not able to get one until weeks or even months later?

Doctors’ schedules fill up fast, and can leave you waiting a long time to get the medical care you need. But there are actions you can take to see your doctor faster. Check out these six!

Plan Ahead

Schedule your appointments ahead of time. Before you leave your doctor’s office after an appointment ends, request a time slot for the next one. The earlier you book, the easier getting an appointment will be.

Choose Off-Peak Times

Plan your visits for less popular days and times. Avoid Mondays and Fridays, which are the busiest days for doctors, and go early. Your doctor is less likely to be backed up early in the morning, so request the first appointment of the day when you schedule your visit.

Ask About Wait Time

When you check in for your appointment, ask the front desk how long the wait time is. If it’s too long, see if you can reschedule and come back on a less busy day.

Ask Your Doctor’s Office to Schedule Specialist Visits

If you need to see a specialist, ask your doctor’s office to call and request an appointment for you. You may be able to get in sooner if the specialist’s office receives your referral and appointment request at the same time.

Be Prepared

Making visits to your doctor count while you’re there can help you keep from needing to go back soon. Have the questions you want to ask ready ahead of time—write them down if it helps—and make sure you understand the answers before you leave.

Also make sure you know how and when you can reach your doctor between visits, in case you have more questions later. Reaching out to your doctor directly may save you the trouble of making a new appointment.

(Not sure what to ask? Check out these Six Questions to Ask Your Doctor.)

Go to Urgent Care Instead of the ER

If your doctor’s office is closed and you need care, you can save time by going to urgent care. Urgent care centers can take care of you for non-life-threatening conditions and if you need services like stitches, treatment for infections and viruses, and more.

Most urgent care centers offer extended hours (such as evenings and weekends) and walk-in appointments, so you don’t need to call ahead. There’s also usually a shorter wait time to see a doctor at urgent care than at the emergency room (ER). If you have a health insurance plan, urgent care services may also have lower costs and copays than the ER.

Have you not been to see your doctor in a long time because you feel healthy? Check out these Five Reasons to Get Checked Anyway.


© 2016 HF Management Services, LLC.

Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies.

This health information or program is for educational purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose, or act as a substitute for medical advice from your provider. Consult your healthcare provider and always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.

“5 Tips for a Smooth Doctor’s Visit,” U.S. News and World Report. April 24, 2013.

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