Busy Office, Too Many Patients May Lead to Misdiagnoses, Malpractice

Decades ago, it was not uncommon for a primary care physician to spend half an hour or more listening to a patient’s concerns, adminstering a thorough examination, and providing medical advice. Now, such a doctor may see up to one hundred patients a day and doesn’t have the time to spend with the patient. It is not uncommon for a doctor to spend as little as 15 minutes or less with a patient before scurrying out of the room to see the next patient.

Such a scenario can lead to miscommunication, misdiagnosis, and medical errors. The patient is often left with the feeling that his concerns were not heard and not addressed. In place of listening attentively to a patient, the doctor orders tests that may or may not be necessary. Because the physician is in a rush, he may make a premature diagnosis that doesn’t address the symptoms or the underlying condition.

It is not reasonable to assume that a doctor who is scheduled to visit 100 patients a day can properly assess each patient’s condition and offer sound medical advice. Something needs to change.