Study Shows Poor and Minorities Spend More Time Waiting for Medical Care

According to research findings published in the October 5, JAMA Internal Medicine, Blacks and Hispanics spend 25% more time seeking health care than whites. People also spend more time sitting in a waiting room if they are unemployed, have a low-paying job, or never attended college.

In the study,  researchers analyzed data from the annual American Time use Survey (taken by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) from 2005-2013.The information was compared with the information with data on time spent with a physician collected from 2006 to 2010 by the National Ambulatory Care Survey. They found that:

  • Whites spent an average of 80 minutes in a doctor’s waiting room.
  • Blacks had to wait 99 minutes.
  • Hispanics waited 105 minutes.
  • Unemployed people spent 94 minutes in the waiting room, versus 72 minutes for people making the most money.
  • People with graduate degrees waited an average 76 minutes, as opposed to 91 minutes for those with a high school education or less, the study noted.

The researchers suggest that these differences are due those at lower socioeconomic levels being forced to use “safety net” options for health care such as emergency rooms or low-cost community health clinics.

Read a full overview of the study from MedlinePlus.

Download the study from JAMA Internal Medicine.