US clinic wait times linked to employment, race
- In an online research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday, researchers found patients spent an average of 86 minutes in the clinic. The authors stated medical wait times were “significantly longer for racial/ethnic minorities, individuals with less education and individuals who are unemployed.”
- Using data from 2005 to 2013, the researchers determined white patients spent an average 80 minutes in the clinic, compared with Hispanic patients on average spending 105, reports Reuters.
- Travel time was longer as well. White patients spent an average 36 minutes traveling to clinics while black patients traveled on average 45 minutes, the authors noted.
“Unfortunately, there are so many disparities in healthcare access and health outcomes already identified in our healthcare system that I don't think these results are necessarily surprising,” said Dr. Kristin N. Ray of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who worked on the study, told Reuters.
Ray acknowledged no difference in face-to-face time was found. “Since we didn't find a difference in face-to-face time with doctors, it's possible that some of the difference could be due to differences in time spent with other healthcare providers – perhaps more time with nutritionists or nurses – but we suspect that much of the difference is due to more time spent completing paperwork, paying bills and waiting for care,” Ray said.
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