For New Doctors, 8 Minutes Per Patient

A new study confirms that doctors-in-training are spending less time with patients than ever before. In the late 1980s, training programs began being pressured to limit the work hours of young doctors. The purpose of these limits were to make sure these interns were not being overworked. Research has concluded that the reason why these young doctors are spending less time with their patients is due to these time constraints they face. The study found that young interns are dedicating the majority of their time to activities that are indirectly related to patient care, like reading patient charts, writing notes, entering orders, speaking with other team members and transporting patients. It was discovered that these young doctors only spent about 12% of their time, or 8 minutes a day, with their patients. As a result, efficiency has become an overriding concern. Studies have shown that patient satisfaction and outcomes suffer from this finding. Inappropriate and inaccurate prescribing has also been shown to increase when doctors spend less time with their patients. Longer-term repercussions of such hurried interactions may also arise later on.  In addition to these consequences, some worry that today’s young doctors will not have enough interaction with their patients to be able to recognize the more subtle signs and symptoms of diseases or emergencies which can lead to medical malpractice, wrongful diagnosis, and more serious outcomes. While more research is needed, increasing the number of trainees in a program, decreasing the resident workload, and making the current restrictions on hours more flexible, could help alleviate some of the pressures young doctors now face and allow them to spend more time with their patients. If you believe you or a loved one have been the victim of medical malpractice, contact us for a free case appraisal. Read the full article here on the New York Times website.