Sep 22 2010
One of people’s least favorite activities is going to the doctor. There’s really nothing enjoyable about being in a sterile environment, being picked at and prodded, and then being told to take two aspirin and call them in the morning.
What’s more is that we wait for the opportunity to go through this. Let’s say we have a doctor’s appointment at 2PM. We of course arrive early, say a quarter til. Then after filling out the paperwork they tell us to take a seat and, “Dr. Oswald will be right with you.” In this case right with you means the nurse will call your name in around 30 minutes, if you’re lucky. Then she’ll sit you in a room, take your blood pressure and maybe a few other simple tests. After that she puts your chart in the door and again assures you that the doctor will be right in. 4:45PM rolls around and hopefully you’re on your way again. The visit itself was actually just a 5 minute conversation, a few health questions, and then some prescription to make whatever ailment you have go away. This whole process would be much easier if you didn’t have to wait as long.
Fortunately, now it can be. Med Wait Time is a site that doctors and patients can use to communicate with patients throughout the day. The concept is fairly straightforward. The doctor or their staff will indicate how busy their office is. Then patients can go online and check the latest status. So, if you have an appointment, you can check the status of the doctor’s office and see if they’re super busy or having a slower that day. If it indicates there’s a long wait, you can delay your visit a bit.
Another use for Med Wait Time is to find urgent care wait times. For instance, let’s say you’d like to find a doctor to check out why you’re feeling nauseous. Just type in your city and state and it will bring up all the local doctors that are registered and indicate their availability. It brings up a map and contact info so you can readily call to confirm, and get directions as well. Patients can use Med Wait Time’s iPhone app, and also have the option to sign up for alerts by text or email. They’ll be notified about the wait 1-2 hours before their appointment.
Med Wait Time isn’t limited to just doctors however. It’s available to many levels of medical profession including dentists and Emergency rooms. The interface is largely the same for each in that you search by location and learn how long the way is. Depending on what type of provider, the options vary slightly. They all have the option to indicate how busy they are. They can also set custom messages for their patients to find. Doctors have the option to indicate how many minutes they’re running behind so their patients can know to be late. Doctors can also indicate whether or not they’re accepting walk ins. ER and Urgent Health care facilities don’t have the up to the minute functionality, as they don’t service scheduled appointments.
Med Wait Time is a tool to help both medical professionals and their patients communicate. Its main purpose is to reduce patient frustration while waiting in the office. It’s also a way to find urgent care wait times. A natural side effect of this is that doctors and their staff will be under less pressure since their patients won’t be left in the waiting room for too long. It also provides an added marketing venue for doctors, who can consistently be broadcasting their availability and whether they’re accepting walk ins. The only issue with Med Wait Time is that it’s long overdue. Finally patients and their doctors have a means to communicate so doctor’s visits will be faster, smoother, and more enjoyable.