Why are Magazines So Old in Doctor Waiting Rooms?
Researchers in New Zealand set out to study this common complaint and did find that new magazines tend to "disappear" resulting in waiting rooms that mainly contained old magazines.
The study was conducted by tracking 87 magazines of various ages placed in a waiting room including both gossipy (celebrity photos on the cover) and non-gossipy types (Economist, Time, National Geographic, etc).
What did they find out???
After 31 days, 41 of the original 87 magazines had disappeared. More to the point regarding outdated magazines in the waiting room... 60% of magazines less then 2 months old disappeared after 31 days.
Of those that disappeared, it tended to be the gossipy ones. Using the hazard ratio, on any one day the gossipy magazines disappeared 14.51 times faster than the non-gossipy ones. This basically equates to 1.32 magazines disappearing per day. In fact, by the end of the study, only one gossipy magazine was still left, the rest having "disappeared," presumably taken out of the office by a patient.
So if gossipy and newer magazines tend to disappear... than not surprisingly over time, that will tend to leave waiting rooms with old and boring magazines... and fairly quickly.
Take home message???
Doctor offices do NOT deliberately stock old boring magazines in the waiting rooms. It's because the new and gossipy magazines are being pilfered as quickly as they get put out.
An exploration of the basis for patient complaints about the oldness of magazines in practice waiting rooms: cohort study. BMJ 2014;349:g7262