Patients and doctors alike are frustrated by the general waiting that seems to be an inevitable part of delivering and receiving care.' Anonymous patient blogger WarmSocks writes about her recent struggles to schedule an appointment with a referred doctor.' After more than two weeks of attempts and no appointment scheduled, she asks, "What if it was 20 degrees out, the faucets in your house stopped working, and there was a stream of water running out from beneath the house?' Would you do business with a company who wouldn't return your phone calls or send someone to investigate the problem'?"
Nobody likes to wait'but for some it hurts more.' On Psychology Today, Art Markman, a cognitive scientist at the University of Texas, discusses new research that explores the role a person's sense of entitlement plays on their perception of the passage of time: "The greater your sense of entitlement, the more that you want to avoid wasting resources.' As a result, the more entitled you feel, the more pain you experience when your time is wasted."' The upside, he writes, is that "If we did not experience frustration when our time was being wasted, we might persist doing things that do not deserve our effort."' This conclusion begs two questions: 1.) if patients were not frustrated by waiting, or never had to wait, would their pursuit of care increase?, and 2.) when they do experience frustration, does their pursuit of care decline?' Either way, we'd probably all agree that patients are entitled to reasonably timely health care.
It's situations like these that have led Lisa Gualtieri, assistant professor of public health at Tufts, to ask, "Must Waiting Be Inherent To Medical Care?" ' Lisa describes ten ways patients wait during the process of accessing and receiving health care. ' But, rather than waiting on our health care system to change, Lisa suggests ten ways that patients can help to reduce the wait and alleviate its impact.' However, there is a small but important caveat.' She writes, 'It is important to maintain perspective: quality of health care is paramount. ' Everyone wants the best care possible and sometimes waiting is unavoidable."