Navigation Links
Doctors Spending More Time Now With Patients
Date:11/9/2009

Quality of care increases with longer doctor visits, researchers add

MONDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Family doctors are now taking more time consulting with adult patients, seeing them more often and improving the quality of visits, a new study suggests.

"Patients spent more time with their primary care physicians during office visits in 2005 than they did almost a decade earlier, and overall they seemed to receive better care," said Dr. Lena M. Chen, from the University of Michigan Health System, the lead researcher of a study reported in the Nov. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Just as the U.S. health care system is struggling to improve care and lower costs, the researchers noted that the population is aging and doctor income is falling, leading some to worry that doctors might cut patient visits shorter to make up the short fall.

"Any efforts to increase efficiency in primary care should take into account the association between time spent with a physician and quality of care," Chen said.

To find out if these factors affected the quality of care provided by primary care doctors, Chen's team collected data on more than 46,000 visits to primary care doctors between 1997 and 2005.

They found that visits to primary care doctors increased 10 percent, from about 273 million visits in 1997 to 338 million in 2005. And the average duration of an adult primary care visit increased by 16 percent, from 18 minutes to 20.8 minutes, Chen said.

For regular check-ups, time with the doctor went up 3.4 minutes; for diagnosis of diabetes, the visit increased 4.2 minutes; for high blood pressure, 3.7 minutes, and for a diagnosis of joint disease, the visit lengthened 5.9 minutes.

Moreover, quality of care also improved according to nine medical, counseling and screening indicators used by the researchers.

Counseling or screening by doctors took 2.6 to 4.2 minutes longer than visits without these services. Providing medication was not associated with longer visits, the study found.

Office visits may be lengthening partly because doctors are seeing more older, sicker patients, the researchers said.

Also, patients are taking more responsibility for their care, which means longer visits, said Dr. Greg Sachs, professor of medicine and director of the division of general internal medicine and geriatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, who was familiar with the study findings.

"People are coming in with more questions, more information and an expectation to be more involved in making decisions about their care," he said.

That means that doctors must work longer hours and see more patients to maintain their income, Sachs said.

Health care professionals "are looking for creative solutions to free up doctor time, and doctors are really working a lot harder," he said. "Things like having nurse practitioners or physician's assistants assist in the care of patients frees up physician time for more complex patients," Sachs added.

Group visits -- in which multiple patients with the same condition are seen simultaneously to discuss care and self-management -- are another strategy, Sachs said.

But fewer people are choosing family medicine as a career, largely because of lifestyle and work demands, he said.

Improving quality of care will probably require wider use of electronic medical records and better reimbursement of family doctors, the researchers noted.

In another report in the same issue of the journal, research shows that the waits at emergency rooms have grown longer.

In 2006, one in four emergency patients waited longer to see a physician than recommended at triage, an increase from one in five in 1997, researchers found.

"Emergency departments are increasingly overcrowded, thereby straining resources," write researchers from Yale University School of Medicine. "Triage assessment is intended to mitigate this strain by ensuring that the most acutely ill patients are prioritized for assessment, regardless of the competing demands on ED physicians' time."

Long waiting time does more than lower patient satisfaction, the team noted. It also limits access, causes patients to leave before being seen and, "is associated with clinically significant delays in care for patients with pneumonia, cardiac symptoms and abdominal pain," they added.

More information

For more on making the most of your next visit to the doctor, head to the American Academy of Family Physicians.



SOURCES: Lena M. Chen, M.D., University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor; Greg Sachs, M.D., professor of medicine, director, division of general internal medicine and geriatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, investigator, Regenstrief Institute, Inc., Indianapolis; Nov. 9, 2009, Archives of Internal Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. UK junior doctors gaining less experience of common procedures
2. Doctors Often Miss High Blood Pressure in Kids
3. One-fourth of HIV patients believe their doctors stigmatize them
4. Annual flu shot cuts need for doctors visits, hospitalization among children
5. Teens need to see their doctors more often
6. Doctors and medical ethicist discuss whether doctors should participate in capital punishment
7. Doctors and Medical Ethicist Discuss Whether Doctors Should Participate in Capital Punishment
8. South Texas Doctors Report More Severe Cases of Community Staph Super Bug Hospitalizing Children
9. Maimonides Expands Circulation of Physicians Practice Journal to Staten Island Doctors
10. Doctors Debate Drugs vs. Surgery for Angina
11. UCI Medical Affiliates Inc. Opens a New Doctors Care Center in Anderson
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... Vitenas Cosmetic Surgery has been ... presented by the American Institute of Architects and the Academy of Architecture for Health. ... Perkins+Will and Harrell Architects, opened to patients in October of 2014. ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... Dr. Benjamin Stong of Kalos Facial Plastic Surgery, LLC ... Stong is double board certified and the only facial plastic surgeon in Atlanta to ... Non-surgical therapies such as stem cells can be used to provide stabilization to hair ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... In honor of National Nurses Week 2016, ... the United States to thank a nurse who's made a difference in their life. ... the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties (up to $10,000) every time someone ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... Boston, MA (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... stress becomes a constant presence, it can weaken the immune system and increase inflammation, ... Ami B. Bhatt, director of the adult congenital heart disease program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... PLAINSBORO, N.J. (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... on patients with cancer, today announced a new collaboration with Imerman Angels ... of cancer anywhere in the world. , “Imerman Angels provides an emotional lifeline to ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/5/2016)... , May 5, 2016 Research ... PET Imaging in Top 5 EU Markets"  report to their ... This report provides information on the current Positron Emission Tomography ... European Markets (T5 EU), which includes France ... , Spain and the ...
(Date:5/4/2016)...  Compass Diversified Holdings (NYSE: CODI ) ... leading middle market businesses, announced today its consolidated operating ... First Quarter 2016 Highlights , Generated ... "Cash Flow") of $13.6 million for the first quarter ... million for the first quarter of 2016; , ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... Yissum Research Development Company of the ... had signed an exclusive world-wide licensing and research agreement ... degradation and immunomodulatory drugs for cancer and immune dysfunction, ... first-in-class therapy for hematologic and solid malignancies. Financial terms ... novel technology was developed by Yinon Ben-Neriah , ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: