Navigation Links
New UC Davis study finds physician style and HMO affiliation impact lengths of patient visit

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Apart from a more complicated medical case, what makes different physicians spend different amounts of time with their patients" Researchers at UC Davis have identified several key doctor- and practice-specific characteristics that affect the length of a patients medical appointment, and ultimately with a patients satisfaction with the doctors visit.

In a new study, "Primary Care Visit Length, Quality, and Satisfaction for Standardized Patients with Depression" in the December 2007 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Estella Geraghty and her colleagues found several key determinants for visit length, ranging from individual style and practice volume to whether a physician practiced within a health maintenance organization (HMO) or whether the doctor had any nonprofessional experience with depression.

Identifying the key predictors that drive the length of doctor visits has long remained elusive, despite much effort by researchers. Using what are called "standardized patients" -- actors who have been carefully coached to simulate specific patient ailments -- Geraghty and her team were able to control patient presentations and more accurately gauge physician practices.

Researchers found that visit length for patients with similar conditions varied more than 10-fold among primary care physicians, with much of the variation attributed to individual physician styles. Doctors working in HMOs and those with the busiest schedules, for example, spent significantly less time with patients. Physicians with personal or vicarious experience with depression, however, spent more time with their patients. They spent as much as 11 percent more time with depressed patients than doctors who did not have that connection with the ailment.

The study found that despite using standardized patients to control for variability in cases, visit times still ranged significantly, from about six minutes to more than 72 minutes, with an average visit lasting approximately 22 minutes.

Geraghty, an assistant professor of clinical internal medicine at UC Davis, pointed out that meeting patients desires for longer visits tends to conflict with the pressures faced by most physicians in established practices.

"Physicians who work in HMOs or who have busy practices risk jeopardizing patient satisfaction because, inevitably, their patient visits are shorter," she said. "Patient satisfaction is an important component of care because it influences a patients adherence to a physicians recommended plan for treatment. Consequently, there is a constant tension between practice efficiency and providing a long enough visit to satisfy the patient."

Geraghty noted that it could be important for doctors who cant easily carve out more time for consultations with their patients to find alternative ways to improve patient satisfaction. She said small steps, such as exhibiting greater empathy, enhancing active listening skills, decreasing waiting-room time, asking more open-ended questions about primary complaints and allowing patients to respond with minimal interruption could help compensate for unavoidably short visit lengths.

The study involved 298 primary care visits by 18 standardized patients to physicians at medical offices in California and New York. Standardized patients are healthy persons trained to portray the personal history, physical symptoms, emotional characteristics and everyday concerns of an actual patient. Using these actor-patients helped Geraghty and her colleagues limit the uncontrolled variability associated with patient differences encountered when using real-life patients.

The researchers concluded that more study is needed to examine the relationship of quality and visit length and to understand how physicians can maximize patient satisfaction within a reasonable amount of time.


Contact: Charles Casey
University of California - Davis - Health System

Related medicine news :

1. S.C. BlueCross Creates Corporate Planning Unit, Promotes Davis to Vice President
2. ABC TV San Francisco Features Canine Cancer Research Story: Saving Our Dogs, Helping Humans Beat Cancer - Work at Morris Animal Foundation, UC-Davis
3. After Dropping 162 Pounds, Jodi Davis Inspires Other Michigan Women to Get Moving and Lose Weight Through
4. UC Davis researchers find evidence of mature heart cell potential in embryonic stem cells
5. UC Davis researchers discover novel pathway to increased inflammation in diabetes patients
6. UC Davis researchers identify a cellular pathway that makes prostate cancer fatal
7. Penn study finds pro-death proteins required to regulate healthy immune function
8. New study shows promise in reducing surgical risks associated with surgical bleeding
9. Study, meta-analysis examine factors associated with death from heatstroke
10. Study suggests loss of 2 types of neurons -- not just 1 -- triggers Parkinsons symptoms
11. Study says COPD testing is not measuring up
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... Lizzie’s Lice Pickers just announced a special promotion that will run throughout ... of lice treatment product. In addition, customers will receive a complimentary head Check when ... is a sure way to ruin the holidays, so we encourage all of our ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... No.1 Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed that over 50% of its members are ... people under the age of 50 – or 67% of the population - are infected ... HSV-1 infection . , "The data shocks us highly!" said Michelle Li, Co-Founder of ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... A simply groundbreaking television series, "Voices in America", which is hosted ... array of issues that are presently affecting Americans. Dedicated to providing the world with ... changing the subjects consumers focus on, one episode at a time. , In ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) awarded accreditation to its Diagnostic ... list of CAAHEP accredited colleges, as only one of twelve colleges and universities in ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... Avid collector, Andrew Hawley from Vintage Rock Posters, announces his search for ... of Joplin's most famous and beautiful concert posters. The concert was held on March ... The According to Hawley, "It is hard to believe that Joplin's stardom was only ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... , Nov. 26, 2015 ... the addition of the "2016 Global ... Test, Country Volume and Sales Segment Forecasts, ... Opportunities" report to their offering. ... addition of the "2016 Global Tumor ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... new combination approach blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for ... combination approach blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for advanced ... combination approach blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for advanced ... has found that immunotherapy can be efficiently combined ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 3D bioprinting market is ... a new report by Grand View Research Inc. Rising prevalence ... demands kidney transplantation is expected to boost the market growth, ... organ transplantation. --> 3D bioprinting market is ... a new report by Grand View Research Inc. Rising prevalence ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: