The Doctor Will See You…11 Minutes Ago
An analysis of patient arrival times
Running late to a medical appointment again? You’re not alone. In analysis of over one million doctor’s appointments, we found that patients arrived late 46% of the time, with significant variations by ages and gender.
Practice Fusion’s Electronic Health Record system includes a calendar application for medical staff, nurses and doctors to schedule and manage their office visits. When a patient arrives for a scheduled appointment, a user can change that patient’s status from “Pending” to “Arrived”. The software then records the time the patient arrived. We compared that arrival time to the scheduled time in the calendar over all the records.
On average, patients were about 11 minutes late to their doctor’s appointments. The histogram below shows the overall distribution of the difference between arrival time and scheduled time. If the time is less than 0 it indicates an early arrival, while a time greater than 0 indicates a late arrival. Though most arrived pretty close to their scheduled time, the rest skew the average towards being late.
The amount of time patients were late varied depending on the patient’s age and gender. On average, patients over 70 were the latest to their appointments, followed by 20 to 40 year olds, who probably had fewer excuses for their tardiness. Those under twenty were good about arriving on time – but this seems to have more to do with their 40-60 year old parents, the best of the bunch.
On average, women were 2.6 minutes later to appointments than men. Feel free to posit theories about this below – but please, play nice.