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The problem is not waiting but actually not knowing how long the waiting would be. I think the doctor could actually try to implement gathering of patient statistics. I imagine that when you get appointments you already have a reason to go. The doctor could aggregate patient data on how long it takes per procedure and the variance with respect to each patient. This would help the doctor in estimating more accurately how feasible is the appointments for the day.

I agree with ML(17) and Saumya. I would like to add that if the waiting room was designed to have activities that were well suited to how long the average waiting time is. They need to make waiting rooms more activity centered rather than waiting/magazine reading centered!.

Is the Waiting Room Necessary?

I spent 40 minutes waiting to begin diagnostic tests preparatory to seeing my ophthalmologist. What a waste of my valuable time! And my calculations from data from the American Time Use Survey suggest that this is a standard problem: the average adult American spends four hours per year waiting for medical or dental care, with each wait averaging around 45 minutes.

Pricing this time out at even half the average wage rate, the cost amounts to about $5 billion per year. Seems like a lot, and very inefficient, but what is the alternative?

The only way that every medical provider could ensure no waiting would be for the provider to have downtime herself, in order to have unutilized resources, both of her time and the services of the capital stock used in the practice. I’m not sure what’s the right mix of provider and customer waiting; but as annoying as my waiting is, the current system may be economically efficient.

via Is the Waiting Room Necessary? – Freakonomics Blog – NYTimes.com.

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