The Vitals Index annual report said the shortest wait time in the top 50 cities increased by a full minute this year, compared to last year. Vitals provides data for patients to help choose a medical doctor.
In 2013, Denver had the shortest wait at 15 minutes, 15 seconds, but this year Seattle earned the top spot, while for the third year in a row, El Paso, Texas, reported the longest doctor's office wait times at 29 minutes, 20 seconds, an increase of 41 seconds compared to last year.
Following Seattle for quickest doctor's office wait times were: Milwaukee; Denver; Minneapolis; Portland, Ore.; Omaha; Charlotte, N.C.; Austin, Texas; San Diego; and Raleigh, N.C.
Time spent in doctor waiting rooms dropped this year, but only by 1 second. The national average physician wait time is 20 minutes, 16 seconds for 2014.
“While Americans have more options for their routine care -- alternative care centers, urgent care facilities and retail clinics -- there are also 30 million more Americans entering the healthcare system under the Affordable Care Act,” Mitch Rothschild, chief executive officer of Vitals, said in a statement.
“We are going to continue to feel a strain on the system, especially in our most populated cities and urban areas. As people seek quality doctors, wait time will impact a patient’s perception, and ultimately their relationship with their physician.”
Among states, Wisconsin led the nation with the shortest wait time at 15 minutes, 32 seconds, followed by New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and Washington.
For the third year, Mississippi was the state with the longest wait, with an average wait time of 24 minutes, 45 seconds -- an increase of 20 seconds over last year. Rounding out the bottom five states were: Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia and Louisiana.