, Volume 26, Issue 3, p 234
Date: 07 Dec 2010

Patient Care Outside of Office Visits

This is an excerpt from the content

To the Editors:— The significant time spent nowadays by primary care physicians on patient care outside office visits has been the subject of two recent articles in the Journal 1,2. This is an unquestionably important topic, but it should not detract attention from one of its major causes. Time constraints have become an increasingly significant problem for physicians caring for ambulatory patients. The problem is widespread and common to many different health care systems 3. An often quoted study found that contrary to common belief, physician's time-per-patient has not decreased and may even have slightly improved over recent years 4. However, the increasing demands upon physician's time have already been widely acknowledged 5. We propose a new term and reference standard for future research—the time-to-task ratio (TTR), which is the time allocated for the patient–physician encounter divided by the number of obligatory assignments.

A patient–physician encounter whether in hospital or