Struggling to get in to see your physician? Worried about long wait times? Or maybe in between providers and not feeling positive about your search for a new practitioner?
While the traditional healthcare system can be slow and frustrating, healthcare is changing. More practitioners are adopting virtual care models and apps that allow patients to easily search for, locate and book appointments when needed. The ability to access a provider when needed is an incredibly essential and surprisingly lacking component of the traditional healthcare model.
Rather than waiting on the phone for upwards of a half hour to be informed of a few appointment windows days or even weeks away, patients are able to virtually browse for appointments available in their preferred time slots–near them and when they need it most.
The ability to browse for doctor’s appointments is especially crucial for those with busy schedules or, at certain times of the year, when appointments are more difficult to come by.
When you need an appointment for: Back-to-School Season
Back-to-school season is incredibly busy with parents, children and teachers getting ready for the new school year with immunizations and sports physicals.
If you plan to schedule an appointment during this time, consider booking in the late afternoon or early evening, as families tend to turn in earlier in the day to make room for dinner, homework and bedtime routines.
If you’re a parent or teacher scheduling a doctor’s appointment for either immunizations or a sports physical, consider booking an appointment early. Many schools allow for these appointments to be completed as much as six months before the beginning of the school year.
When you need an appointment for: General Wellness
After the rush of back-to-school is over, many providers find themselves with open appointment windows ahead of winter. This time of the year is a great time to attend to any nagging issues that you’ve let slip by.
Because of the large number of patients expected in peak flu season (typically January-March), scheduling time now is a good idea for things like aches and pains, eye appointments, pap smears and general wellness exams.
October, November and early December tend to have a good amount of availability.
When you need an appointment for: Allergies
Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? If you find yourself coughing, sneezing, itching or wiping watery eyes each allergy season, book an appointment between late winter or early spring to get a refill on seasonal allergy medications.
If your seasonal allergies are a new addition thanks to a relocation or a new addition to the yard or family, be sure to try Tuesdays and Thursdays, which tend to be more laid back with lower wait times. Mondays and Fridays tend to be the busiest.
When you need: A Same-Day Appointment
Have an emergent issue that you need to be seen for immediately, albeit one that’s not worthy of a visit to the ER or urgent care? Same-day appointments aren’t easy to come by, but they’re available with the help of scheduling apps!
When you need: Lots of Availability, Low Wait Times
If you are frustrated by waiting rooms or suffering from a little medical anxiety, try to book an appointment Monday morning. Monday mornings tend to have very few appointments as busy professionals and families get back into the swing of work and school. Booking a morning appointment means that your physician won’t be running behind after a busy day’s worth of patients or other complications.
When you need: An Appointment with A New Physician
Are you looking for an appointment with a new physician but dreading the search and selection process? First things first: gather your resources. You’ll want to consider your location, insurance coverage and access to your healthcare records.
Do you want to visit a physician near home or work? For most patients, home is preferable, but many patients like the ability to visit a provider near work to schedule an appointment before work, after work or during lunch.
Once you’ve determined your location, search for providers using the internet or a mobile app. If the idea of searching for a provider stresses you out, an app is a good way to go. Apps provide the ability to search for physicians according to geography, insurance and patient rating.
Some apps also provide the ability to access your personal data to communicate more effectively with your new provider, eliminating the need for frustrating lapses in data and clunky medical record transfers that can waste precious time and energy.