When you go to the doctor you want someone who is going to listen carefully to what ails you so they can make a proper diagnosis, but the truth is, that’s probably not happening. In fact, you likely only have a few seconds to get your doctor’s attention.
A new study, published in the "Journal of General Internal Medicine," suggests doctors spend an average of only 11 seconds listening to a patient before interrupting them. The study looked at the response time after doctors asked a patient “What can I do for you today?” or “Tell me what brings you in today?” and 67% of all patients were interrupted by their doctors, while 36% of doctors didn’t even ask the questions.
And getting to explain the reason for your visit depended on what type of doctor you’re visiting. For example, for primary care doctor visits, 49% of patients were able to explain why they were there, but with specialty visits, only 20% were. And with specialty doctors, even if they do get to share why they are there, 80% are interrupted, possibly because those doctors may have been informed of the reason before the patient got there.
And patients shouldn’t expect to spend a lot of quality time with their doctors in general. The study finds that the average length of an appointment is 30 minutes, although they did tend to be longer when patients were asked to explain the reason for their visit at the beginning of an appointment.