Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Take two and call me to be interrupted

Researchers in 1984 showed that on average, patients were interrupted 18 seconds into explaining their problems to a doctor.In 1999 they found docs took 23 sec to interrupt.

Fewer than 2 percent of the patients got to finish their explanations.

Only 15 percent of patients fully understand what their doctors tell them, and that 50 percent leave their doctors' offices uncertain of what they are supposed to do to take care of themselves

The typical number of questions a male patient asks during a 15-minute doctor's visit is zero, while women average six.

Doctors with "a more dominant tone of voice," they found, were more likely to have been sued by patients. Doctors whose voices contained more warmth were less likely to have been sued. Patients who sue often feel abandoned by their doctors.

Good doctors, communication experts say, do not pepper patients with questions; patients do not like that. There is a clear connection between positive doctor-patient relationships and improvements in the patients' health.


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