Short Doctor Visits Lead to Poor Outcomes
At GetzWell, we have always known that more time spent with patients during office visits and the quality time dedicated by our providers and staff benefit our patients. Confirming our fundamental beliefs and approach, a new study by Medical Care, part of the American Public Health Association, has found that “shorter visits between patients and their primary care physicians may be associated with a higher likelihood of inappropriate prescribing.”
According to the study, the average primary care visit lasts 18 minutes. The national average for pediatric visits is 12 minutes. In contrast, at GetzWell our patient visits last as long as a full hour.
Short patient visit time, which is the norm in many pediatric practices and primary care offices, is a problem because “Physicians under pressure to see as many patients as possible may prescribe quick fixes instead of engaging in longer and possibly difficult discussions with patients.”
The study found that the longer the visit, the less likely a patient would be given an inappropriate prescription. “For example, nearly 57% of visits lasting 10 minutes resulted in inappropriate antibiotic prescribing. The number drops to below 54% for 20-minute visits.” Similar trends have been found for the likelihood of opioid and benzodiazepine co-prescription.
When patients are prescribed medications they don’t need, they are exposed to unnecessary and possibly inappropriate treatments. Additionally under such scenarios, high quality care and appropriate treatment of the root causes of the illness are effectively denied, or at best, delayed. At GetzWell we do better!
According to Hannah Neprash, PhD and lead author of the study, that missed time has another drawback as it can “add up over the course of the relationship,” meaning that patients don’t have adequate time or the established comfort level to address all their concerns, even pressing concerns, with their primary doctors.
At Getzwell, because our providers take the time to listen and get to know our patients, we find that we write fewer prescriptions than many other pediatricians and the treatments we provide are targeted and well thought-out. This study offers yet another proof that the approach we have been using for the past 16 years leads to better patient outcomes.
About GetzWell Personalized Pediatrics
Located in two San Francisco locations, our practice is composed of board-certified pediatricians and expert pediatric nurse practitioners. We offer same day appointments, minimal waiting times, old fashioned house calls and 24/7 access to one of our own providers.
GetzWell was established by Dr. Julia Getzelman in 2008 with a passionate commitment to bring pediatric functional medicine to San Francisco.
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