After analyzing the results, they found that 36 percent of patients were able to set the agenda. However, they were interrupted 11 seconds on average after beginning their statements. Those who were not interrupted finished speaking after about six seconds.
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They said primary care doctors allowed more time than specialists as specialists generally know the purpose of a visit.
"If done respectfully and with the patient's best interest in mind, interruptions to the patient's discourse may clarify or focus the conversation, and thus benefit patients," coauthor Singh Ospina said in a statement. "Yet, it seems rather unlikely that an interruption, even to clarify or focus, could be beneficial at the early stage in the encounter."
While they are unclear why doctors don’t allow patients to speak longer, they believe time constraints, not enough training on how to communicate with patients and burnout may be factors.
The scientists now hope to further explore their investigations on the ultimate experience of doctor visits and the outcomes.
“Our results suggest that we are far from achieving patient-centered care,” she says.
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