Navigation Links
New UC Davis study finds physician style and HMO affiliation impact lengths of patient visit
Date:12/5/2007

(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
charles.casey@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9048
University of California - Davis - Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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 WalkyTalk.com(TM)
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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/1/2016)... Aliso Viejo, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 01, 2016 , ... ProBrand Reveal Volume 2 ... Pro X . With ProBrand Reveal Volume 2 keyframeless animations, users can easily create a ... over the look and feel of the various presets. Use these title presets to add ...
(Date:5/1/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... May 01, 2016 , ... Good ... those in need of chiropractic help. The agency offers a verity of health, life ... chiropractic need. According to Chris Nelson at the firm, “Many insurance plans don’t cover ...
(Date:4/30/2016)... , ... April 30, 2016 , ... ... Studios. With inMotion3D Abstract users can distort and manipulate three-dimensional shapes with ease ... rotation, columns, rows, ranks, point, lines, polygons, polygon texture animation, opacity texture animation, ...
(Date:4/30/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 30, 2016 , ... ... today announced RANKED Health , a program to critically evaluate and rank ... goal of the program is to provide independent, unbiased and accurate information to ...
(Date:4/30/2016)... ... April 30, 2016 , ... ... President and CEO of EMED, today signed a multifaceted agreement which will allow ... the Northern Caribbean University Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, Allied Health and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... 2016  While Abbott,s announced purchase of St. ... repair and stent business, healthcare research firm Kalorama ... firmly into patient monitoring.  Kalorama said that patient ... areas, with double-digit growth expected the next 5 ... Remote Patient Monitoring . Abbott Laboratories agreed ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... April 28, 2016  The blood testing market in ... according to Kalorama Information and The Freedonia Group in ... nucleic acid testing.  The healthcare research firm said that ... developing blood collection stations and in improving testing at ... Information,s report, Blood Testing Market in China ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016 Oramed Pharmaceuticals ... clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the development of oral drug ... the upcoming PIONEERS 2016 conference, presented by Joseph Gunnar ... in New York . Nadav Kidron ... the conference. Presentation Details:   ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: