The average wait time for a patient to see a physician in Dallas is now 21 days, according to the 2022 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times and Medicare and Medicaid Acceptance Rates study from AMN Healthcare and Merritt Hawkins.
While waiting for three weeks may seem like a long time, the national average was 26 days, which is up 8 percent since 2017 and 24 percent since the survey was first conducted in 2004. Dallas fairs much better than many cities around the country. In Portland, the wait is 45.6 days, in Boston its 33.8 days, and in Minneapolis its 30.8 days. The wait time in Houston is just 20.2 days; New York had the shortest wait time at just 17.4 days.
The average wait time was calculated by averaging wait times for 15 major metropolitan areas and 1,034 offices in five different specialties: family medicine, OBGYN, orthopedic surgery, cardiology, and dermatology.
“Physician appointment wait times are the longest they have been since we began conducting the survey,” said Tom Florence, president of AMN Healthcare physician search division in the survey. “ Longer physician appointment wait times are a significant indicator that the nation is experiencing a growing shortage of physicians.”
Wait times are up across nearly every specialty nationwide. OBGYN wait times are up 19 percent since 2017, cardiology is up 26 percent since 2017, and orthopedic surgery wait times are up 48 percent since 2017. Despite the shortage of primary care physicians, family medicine wait times decreased, most likely due to a proliferation of urgent care centers, retail clinics, and telemedicine, which all deliver care efficiently. Wait times have been down 30 percent for family medicine since 2017.
Dallas is an excellent place to be if you need to see a cardiologist, with a wait time of 13 days – the shortest wait time in the country, according to the survey. In Dallas it will take 34 days on average to see a dermatologist, 32 days to see an OBGYN, nine days to see an orthopedic surgeon, and 17 days to see a family physician.
It might seem like a long time to wait when in need of medical care, but metropolitan areas are in a much better position compared to rural regions.
“Major cities like those included in the survey have some of the highest ratios of physicians per capita in the country, yet physician appointment wait times are increasing,” Florence wrote. “It’s a sobering sign for the rest of the country when even patients in large cities must wait weeks to see a physician.”