Debunking the Myth of Best and Worst Doctor Appointment Times

Tuesdays and Thursdays are the most popular days to schedule a doctor appointment. Monday mornings are particularly busy because of weekend ailments. Late afternoon spots have the longest wait times. Avoid these days and times at all costs: they’re the worst times to see your physician.

These are the conclusions from anonymous data on the booking website ZocDoc from its 2.5 million monthly users from July 2012 to July 2013. But are there really best and worst doctor appointment days and times? Let’s look at this issue a little closer.


Best and worst doctor appointment times – perception

Obviously there are times of the day and days of the week that have unique conveniences and disadvantages. It’s true: Mondays have more patients calling in from weekend ailments, Wednesdays are more free because they’re in the middle of the week and mornings are less cluttered, hectic, and noisy than late afternoons.


And human nature, as it is, leads to certain “best” and “worst” assumptions. People cancel more often on Mondays and Tuesdays, opting to settle into their week and reschedule later. Fridays are more relaxed in the morning but much more frantic in the afternoon as everyone is hurrying to get the weekend started. Scheduling right after lunch is a good idea because it gives offices time to catch up on delayed and longer-than-expected appointments.


All of this adds up to the assumption that certain times and days are better and worse than others.


Best and worst doctor appointment times – the reality, and solution

But the fact is, all days and times are created equally. There are no inherently better or worse times. Mondays at 2:00 p.m. are as good a time to visit your physician as Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. The problem isn’t in the appointment date or time. More times than not, the problem lies with the management of them.


Because of overbooking early in the day and hour, later appointments are pushed back, causing a domino effect of delays and distractions. Because offices mismanage time or visits take too long, the same dilemma occurs: longer wait times and frustrated patients.


So what is a patient to do when booking an appointment? Our recommendation is to work with healthcare providers who are running their offices as effectively as possible. Ensure your physician is scheduling the right type of visits, the right volume of visits and has the appropriate staff to make it work for everyone. Things come up and that is totally understandable. However, that should not be the norm. There are technologies out there, such as Opargo, which will help a practice run efficiently and effectively for both them and you.


So in all honesty – picking Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. vs. Friday at 2:00 p.m. should not matter for you or a physician if optimized scheduling is in place. This will result in better, more focused care and happier, healthier patients.





Posted in: Optimization, Patients