How Much Does a Doctor Visit Cost a Patient?

Opportunity Costs of Doctor Visits -YouTube Video

From the Boston Globe:

The study estimates that the typical visit to a doctor consumes 121 minutes of the patient’s time — 37 minutes in travel, 64 minutes waiting for care or filling out forms, and only 20 minutes face to face with the physician.

Based on the average sum a person could earn if working during that time, the researchers figure, it costs patients $43 in lost time for each medical visit — more than the average out-of-pocket cost for the care itself, which is about $32.

Mehrotra’s team drew their results from three national surveys, chiefly the 2003-2010 American Time Use Survey, administered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The survey asked randomly selected respondents to recall what they did from 4 a.m. on the previous day until 4 a.m. on the day of the survey. The researchers examined the experiences of the 3,927 respondents who had sought medical care during that 24-hour period.

The initial study: Opportunity Costs of Ambulatory Medical Care in the United States Kristin N. Ray, MD, MS; Amalavoyal V. Chari, PhD; John Engberg, PhD; Marnie Bertolet, PhD; and Ateev Mehrotra, MD, MPH.  Published in American Journal of Managed Care (August 2015)

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