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Coping with Time-Crunched Physicians

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It’s not your imagination – you’re getting less time with your doctor.

Primary care physicians are in short supply in the United States, which means increased pressures and heavier workloads for those in practice, says Dr. Paul Griner, (www.drpaulgriner.com), author of “The Power of Patient Stories: Learning Moments in Medicine.”
 
“Many physicians say their favorite part of being a doctor is the relationships they form with patients, but those are harder to cultivate now because physicians are so squeezed for time,” Griner says.

More than 80 percent of physicians said patient relationships were the “most satisfying” part of their job, according to a survey of more than 13,000 doctors last year by The Physicians Foundation.

But nearly 40 percent said they were seeing 11 to 20 patients a day, and nearly 27 percent had a daily load of 21 to 30.  On top of that, they spent an average 22 percent of their day on paperwork that had nothing to do with patient care.

“A good doctor-patient relationship is essential to achieving the best possible care, but the reality is, most doctors have less and less time to spend with each patient,” Griner says. “So it’s important for patients to take some responsibility for that relationship, too.”

By preparing for your visit, you can ensure you make the best use of your time together, he says. Dr. Griner speaks with Joyce and Mike about how patients can prepare and optimize the time with their physician.

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