If you live in Philadelphia, you may wait 78 days. In Cedar Rapids, 91 days.
According to a new report, long waits for dermatology appointments – for both new and returning patients – have become the norm. And that’s a problem.
As “Patients Are Waiting: America’s Dermatology Wait Times Crisis,” explains, the average wait time is more than a month, though some patients wait longer. The delay is more than just a nuisance. Waiting can have negative emotional, physical and financial impacts on patients and their caregivers, the report notes.
While patients wait, their condition may worsen. In fact, half of the patients surveyed experienced anxiety while waiting for care. Half reported feeling sad. The emotional toll of waiting is little surprise. Nearly all patients, 91%, said that their skin condition impacts their daily lives. But of those who didn’t receive care, wait times were the number one reason.
Physicians are hardly ignorant of the problem. In a survey of the American Academy of Dermatology, a third reported that their community did not have enough dermatologists to meet patient need.
The good news? Solutions exist. The report identifies increased use of physician assistants and nurse practitioners, better diagnostic confidence in primary care physicians, and greater use of telemedicine as ways to minimize wait times.
The report comes from the new Greater Access for Patients Partnership, a coalition of professional and patient organizations, including the Derma Care Access Network, that aims to address the dermatology wait times crisis and increase access to care.