Young woman on couch waiting for telehealth appointment with laptop computer

How long to wait for a telehealth appointment: here's what to know

Written on March 20, 2023 by Gillian (Gigi) Singer, MPH. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Telehealth has become an increasingly popular option for receiving medical care, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. With telehealth, patients can receive medical attention from the comfort of their own homes without having to physically visit a healthcare facility. However, one question that often arises when using telehealth is how long to wait for a telehealth appointment. Here we'll discuss some factors that can affect wait times for telehealth appointments and what patients can do to expedite the process.

Statistics on in-person appointment wait times

Here are a few statistics relating to wait times for in-person appointments [1]:

  • Although patients typically wait only 18 minutes on average to see primary care physicians, the process of getting an appointment can pose a challenge due to the duration it takes
  • 60% of patients wait 2 weeks for a primary care appointment
  • 20% of patients wait 4 weeks for a primary care appointment
  • 20% of patients have switched healthcare providers due to wait times

Factors affecting appointment wait times

Here are several factors that affect the wait times for telehealth appointments.

Availability of healthcare providers

One of the most significant factors that affect wait times for telehealth appointments is the availability of healthcare providers. Just like with in-person medical appointments, the number of available providers to offer telehealth appointments is limited. If only a few providers are available or if many people are requesting telehealth appointments simultaneously, the wait times can be longer.

The urgency of the medical condition

In addition to provider availability, the urgency of a patient's medical condition can also impact the wait time for a telehealth appointment. For instance, if a patient is experiencing a medical emergency, they may require immediate care in-person or through telehealth. On the other hand, if a patient has a less pressing medical concern, they may be able to wait longer for an appointment.

Time and day

Telehealth appointment wait times can also vary based on the time of day and day of the week. Certain healthcare providers may have more availability during specific hours or days of the week, while others may have limited availability. Patients who are flexible with their availability may be able to schedule appointments more quickly.

Technical Issues

Technical issues can also cause delays in telehealth appointments. Patients may need to download specific software or apps to connect with their healthcare provider, and technical difficulties can prolong the wait time for the appointment.

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Tips for expedited telehealth appointments

Here are a few tips to follow to help expedite your telehealth appointments.

Be prepared

To expedite telehealth appointments, patients should be prepared with all necessary information, including their medical history, current medications, and symptoms. This can help the healthcare provider quickly assess the situation and provide the appropriate treatment.

Be flexible

As mentioned earlier, being flexible with availability can help expedite telehealth appointments. Patients who are willing to schedule appointments during off-hours or on less popular days may be able to get an appointment more quickly.

Communicate with the healthcare provider

Patients should communicate with their healthcare provider about their scheduling needs and any urgency related to their medical condition. The healthcare provider may be able to offer a telehealth appointment more quickly or recommend other options for care.

Check with your insurance

Finally, patients should check with their insurance provider to see if telehealth appointments are covered and what the process is for scheduling them. Some insurance plans may require pre-authorization for telehealth appointments, which can add additional wait time.

Telehealth via Everlywell

Are you seeking telemedicine options? Everlywell offers access to convenient and swift telehealth consultations that are eligible for coverage by major insurance plans. You can receive medical attention from a licensed nurse practitioner through secure technological means that safeguard your confidentiality, and it's all accessible at your fingertips. The cost may range from $10 to $60, depending on your insurance coverage, and numerous major insurance plans are accepted.

With telehealth via Everlywell, you are just three simple steps away from talking to a provider about your health:

  1. Create your profile online, fill out your medical history, and check to see if your insurance is accepted
  2. Schedule your online visit
  3. Receive a care plan to address your needs and symptoms, which may include testing, prescriptions, and lifestyle recommendations


Wait times for telehealth appointments can vary depending on several factors, including provider availability, the urgency of the medical condition, and technical issues. However, patients can take steps to expedite the process, including being prepared, flexible, and communicating with their healthcare provider. With these tips in mind, patients can receive the care they need via telehealth quickly and efficiently.

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  1. Infographic: Average wait times to see a doctor. RelyMD. URL. Published March 6, 2020. Accessed March 20, 2023.
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