Horsham, PA — Let’s start with the biggest number: 10 minutes. When Verilogue reviewed 70,000 exam room conversations, it found that’s how long the average physician spends with a patient.
That 10 minutes is largely dominated by the physician. In fact, 64% of the conversation is physician led; 33% is patient led – with the small balance owned by a caregiver or partner.
Physicians teach their patients about a new Rx for 99 seconds – or 13.7% – of that visit. Previous studies have pegged that Rx discussion time as even shorter.
Time Spent by Physicians (in seconds!) On New Rx Topics
Think how many months and years we spend perfecting the messages, the Q&A, the story, all to have it boiled down into a 99 second Rush to the Rx.
Beyond the minor marketing injustice, there are real reasons to wonder about the efficacy of those conversations. Our collaborator George Van Antwerp recently reminded us of the biggest one: the leaky bucket of good intentions
The entire slippery slope of adherence starts with that conversation between doctor and patient. Steve Wilkins, MPH, one of the authors of the study , says nonadherence is “often a rational response on the patient’s part when faced with a recommendation to do something they don’t agree with – namely take a medication.” He says 50% of patients disagree at one time or another with a doctor regarding the diagnosis, severity of a condition or particular treatment.
Understanding and accepting that there is medical problem and that the recommended treatment is the right one are the keys to unlocking patient consent. The kind of meaningful, personal education that many need to get there would be difficult to deliver with the entire 10 minutes, let alone 13.7% of it.
2013 Physician-Patient Communications Benchmark from Verilogue and Steve Wilkins, MPH, of Mind the Gap and Smart Health Messaging
National Association of Chain Drugstores, Pharmacies: Improving Health, Reducing Costs, 2010. Based on IMS data