Waiting for an appointment with an ob/gyn

August 1, 2004



Patients in Boston wait the longest for an appointment with an obstetrician/gynecologist—an average of 45 days—compared to those in 14 other metropolitan areas. In contrast, patients in Miami wait the least amount of time—an average of 10 days, according to a survey conducted by a national physician search and consulting firm.

Posing as new patients, survey researchers from Merritt, Hawkins & Associates tried to make appointments for routine gynecologic exams in doctors' offices in 15 metropolitan areas—Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

Among all the cities surveyed, the average time to get an appointment with an ob/gyn was 23.3 days. In 13 of the 15 cities, average wait times were 14 days or more. In eight of the 15 cities, average wait times exceeded 21 days.

According to the Irving, Texas-based firm, physician practices that are booked more than 14 days out are considered busy and may need to consider adding a new associate. In addition, accessibility to physicians becomes a problem—one that may force privately insured patients to seek non-emergent care in hospital emergency rooms.