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Doctors Manage Several Patient Problems in Short Office Visits

Armen Hareyan's picture

A new study of conversations between physicians and patients reveals that primary care doctors often juggle many patient concerns during routine office visits.

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"We documented that on average there are six topics that were discussed, and there is not a lot of time allocated to these topics," said lead study author Ming Tai-Seale, Ph.D.

During the doctor-patient interactions, the topic that received the most talk time was typically discussed for about five minutes. The remaining issues typically received about a minute of discussion each, found the study in the latest online issue of the journal Health Services Research.

"Some of those 'remaining' issues may have deserved more time," said Tai-Seale, an associate professor at Texas A&M Health Science Center. "Those topics can be about mental health, personal habits