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

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at trends.health)

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.