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Rx for time-crunched physicians
Date:7/14/2008

lan. Also, once their concerns are taken into account, most patients don't keep restating them. This saves time.

"Visits with the doctor that contain these fundamental elements," Mauksch said, "lead to greater patient satisfaction, better adherence to medical regimes, increased self-management, better health outcomes, lower costs, and fewer malpractice claims. These skills enable physicians to do it right the first time, so they don't have to do it over."

"We've tried to propose a model of doctor/patient communications," Dugdale added, "that is at the intersection between what patients need and the reality of a doctor's world. These are skills that make a difference and that doctors can use throughout their entire careers."

Some Facts on Doctors' Office Visits

  • During their careers, physicians conduct upwards of 100,000 patient interviews, making it the most common "medical procedure" in an office setting.
  • The mean length of time spent with a doctor during an office visit: 18 minutes.
  • Primary-care patients bring up 3 to 6 concerns per visit.
  • A physician's communication style tends to remain the same regardless of the length of the visit.

Teaching Doctors-in-Training How to Do Office Interviews

Patient communications are addressed in medical schools and residency training programs, but after starting practice, many new doctors abandon what they learned.

Larry Mauksch, who is on the faculty of the UW Department of Family Medicine, said it's difficult for medical students to learn doctor/patient communications only through classroom lectures or reading. Medical student training at the University of Washington (UW) includes observations of actual, enacted and Web-taped doctor visits.

Trainees use checklists to monitor specific parts of a medical encounter and they learn to put a name to specific skills. Students rate video demonstrations that are missi
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Contact: Leila Gray
leilag@u.washingtone.edu
206-685-0381
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

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