Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Short Office Visits Strain Patient-Physician Relationship

An unfortunate trend is emerging in health care that’s leaving both patients and their physicians frustrated ― the 15-minute office visit. Buckling under financial pressure from declining payment rates, many doctor’s offices are scheduling patient visits at ever-shrinking intervals. The result is a more harried visit with time focused chiefly on the patient’s complaint and less on overall health.

Kaiser Health News reports:
“By all accounts, short visits take a toll on the doctor-patient relationship, which is considered a key ingredient of good care, and may represent a missed opportunity for getting patients more actively involved in their own health. There is less of a dialogue between patient and doctor, studies show, increasing the odds patients will leave the office frustrated.”
It is a widespread problem, and one that could get worse as more Americans get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Kaiser reports the 15-minute appointments started after “Medicare’s 1992 adoption of a byzantine formula that relies on ‘relative value units,’ to calculate doctors’ fees.” Read more.

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