Healthcare Industry News: How Long Are Doctors Listening To Patients?

September 4, 2019 Jeanette Stern

Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation and the person you were talking to interrupted you? How long does it usually take for someone to interrupt you in the middle of a conversation? You may have not been interrupted as quickly as some doctors interrupt their patients. In a Forbes article, it was reported that patients are interrupted by their doctors after only speaking to them for a grand total of 11 seconds. Yes, you read that correctly: 11 seconds.

How can a doctor obtain a better understanding of a patient and the concerns the patient has after only letting him or her speak for 11 seconds? A healthcare professional will not be able to effectively diagnose a patient and address those concerns in a matter of seconds. Patients can quickly lose trust and faith in a healthcare professional who interrupts them as soon as they begin to speak.

Patients can also change their opinion about the entire healthcare industry based on their experience with one healthcare provider. Some patients interact with healthcare providers who will instantly make an assumption about him or her based on different characteristics or the patient's appearance.

While some doctors may not care to listen to patients, this does not mean that all healthcare providers are not interested in what their patients have to say. However, when patients continue to talk to healthcare providers who are not paying attention to their patients, it could actually be a problem with the healthcare system as a whole. 

Many healthcare providers spend less than 20 minutes with their patients. This can mean that patients are having a conversation with the doctor, given one or more exams, and having their statistics documented in a short period of time. Sometimes healthcare providers may be trying to rush the visit with the patient without even realizing it. 

When patient visits are rushed it can result in unfortunate consequences, such as the following:

  • hospital readmission
  • rising medical costs
  • a loss in efficiency and productivity
  • death

Less than 50 percent of patients actually trust their healthcare provider. In order for patients to trust the people who provide medical care, the patients will need to know they are being heard. Patients do not want to feel dehumanized when they visit a healthcare provider. Many patients are vulnerable and they are looking for a healthcare provider who will show sensitivity towards their needs. 

This is why we encourage healthcare providers to ask some key questions so their patients will become comfortable discussing the reasons why they are seeking medical attention. Sometimes it is difficult for patients to talk about why they made an appointment, but asking the right questions will give patients the opportunity to give more direct answers. 

If the healthcare industry is going to be more patient-focused or patient-centered, patients should not feel restricted when it comes to addressing their concerns and expressing their feelings. Patients who are already in distress and are worried about their health do not want to face any more obstacles when they are meeting with a healthcare provider,

The concerns of patients need to be addressed as soon as possible to prevent any unfortunate consequence. When the concerns of patients are addressed effectively, healthcare providers can move forward with creating a plan that will address those needs. Patients and healthcare providers both deserve to be part of a strong and steady relationship. 

In the healthcare industry, we need to continue to work towards establishing a health care model that involves treating patients with the attention, care, and respect they deserve. For more information on establishing a better patient process and taking steps to improve health outcomes, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

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