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How much time does your doctor actually spend with you?

Like most people in Upper Marlboro, you likely understand that diagnostic medicine may always involve some degree of uncertainty. Despite the many technological tools available to doctors today, they often cannot visualize exact what is wrong with you. Rather, they rely on such tools, as well as their experience, expertise and the information that you give them to come to a diagnosis. Yet you may be right to question how such elements can be adequately employed in treating you when it seems as though a doctor rarely sits down to communicate with you face-to-face. 

An average visit to the doctor typically involves a quick review of your vital signs and statistics (typically taken by a nurse or medical assistant), an explanation of your symptoms (again, recorded by a nurse), and then brief interaction with the doctor him or herself. That may be followed by imaging studies or lab work (once again, done by a someone other than the doctor), after which the doctor may come in and quickly speak to you before you are discharged or sent elsewhere. Out of all that, how much time do you actually get with the doctor? Information shared by Becker's Hospital Review estimates that to be an average of 13-16 minutes. 

While every element of your care may not need to be done with you in the room, abbreviated visits like these can lead to errors such as: 

  • Rushed decision-making 
  • Incorrect diagnoses
  • Poor documentation of procedures

You should feel comfortable with a doctor's recommendations for reasons other than assuming he or she knows what he or she is talking about. This includes believing that a doctor did devote sufficient time and attention to you to correctly diagnose and address your condition, as well as answer any of your questions. 

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