Does your doctor’s office feel like a revolving door? One patient in, another patient out—with no time to spare? Well, a new study from The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that reviews and analyzes medical research, shows that having more face time with your doc probably won’t improve your care.
Cochrane researchers wondered whether patients would be more satisfied with their care if patients and physicians had more time together—and whether physicians would change the way they practised, for example, prescribing fewer medications and spending more time talking about the connections between lifestyle choices and health. To answer these questions, they reviewed five studies, conducted in the United Kingdom, that tested whether methods to change the length of medical consultations provided any benefits.
According to this summary, doctors did not discuss more medical problems, prescribe more drugs, run more tests, make more referrals or do more examinations when they spent additional time with their patients. Furthermore, patients were not more satisfied with their care when they had a longer consultation. However, the study did show that physicians tended to discuss smoking and to check blood pressure more frequently when time permitted.