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Reviewing average doctor visit times

The doctors and other clinicians working in the hospitals and medical centers in and around Bozeman have studied their craft for years and supplemented that learning with extensive clinical training. Yet even with all of this acquired expertise, diagnostic errors remain a problem that plagues the American healthcare system. Information shared by the National Center for Policy Analysis shows that some studies indicate that as many as 10-20 percent of cases are misdiagnosed.

How is that providers with so much clinical expertise can error at such an alarming rate? It may not be due to a lack of knowledge, but rather a shortage of an equally as valuable resource: time. The online publication Business Insider reports that in its 2016 Physician Compensation Report, Medscape showed that the most common amount of time that doctors spent with each patient was 13-16 minutes. Considering all that can go into making a diagnosis (asking questions, performing assessments, running diagnostics tests and taking radiological scans), one might question whether a definitive answer regarding what may be ailing a patient can truly be achieved in that time frame.

The Medscape study goes on to show that visit times can also dependent on the care setting, with critical and emergency care centers having some of the shortest visit times. While it may be understandable that providers in such settings are forced to deal with a high volume of patients, one’s care should be dictated on the clinical indicators present in his or her case, not the number of patients a doctor has to see. People should remember, however, that they are in control of their own care. If they believe all their questions regarding their condition have not been answered, they should not hesitate to request a few added moments of a provider’s attention.  

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