Over 2000 Posts Kristy Posted September 28, 2002 Over 2000 Posts Report Share Posted September 28, 2002 Two minutes is all most patients need to tell their story September 27, 2002 LONDON (Reuters Health) - Physicians who let their patients tell the full story of their complaints do not risk listening for hours, Swiss researchers report in the September 28th issue of the British Medical Journal. In fact, they found that the majority of patients finished their litany within 2 minutes. US physicians give patients an average of 22 seconds before they take the lead in the conversation, probably because they are afraid patients will "mess up" their schedule if allowed to go on, note Dr. Wolf Langewitz and colleagues from University Hospital in Basle. But this fear has not been systematically put to the test. The researchers equipped physicians in the outpatient clinic of a department of internal medicine with a stopwatch, which they surreptitiously started at the beginning of the conversation and stopped when the patient said, "What do you think, doctor?" or otherwise indicated they wanted the doctor to take the lead. Of 335 patients seen by 14 doctors, the mean talking time was 92 seconds, and 78% of patients had finished talking within 2 minutes. Only seven patients talked for more than 5 minutes. "Even in a busy practice driven by time constraints and financial pressure, 2 minutes of listening should be possible," the researchers write. "We gathered data in a tertiary referral centre that is characterised by a selection of difficult patients with complex histories," they point out. "Patients in less selected groups might need even less time to complete their initial statement." BMJ 2002;325:682-683. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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