We know that doctors of different types and stripes have different appointment lengths, and if you’re working on an inpatient service you may not have a specific schedule.
Regardless of whether you have eight, fifteen or thirty minutes (like I do in my clinic for complex patients with addictions and mental health issues), it’s important to state up front what the time frame is.
Patients tell me frequently that they don’t know that their appointment has a time limit. We need to tell them.
Providing this information it’s not only practical, but it helps our patients align with us.
When we have rapport and relationship with her patients, they don’t want us to get behind either. It also tells them what they can expect from the appointment, and if their concerns are more than what can be reached, then you can make time for a longer appointment the next time they come in.
Bottom line: Make a statement regarding how much time for the appointment. State a number of minutes, or the time you need to wrap up. This will be important when time comes to bring the encounter to an end.
Dedicating the first 90 seconds of the appointment to setting an agenda and prioritizing patient issues if it feels like there are too many also help keep your clinical encounters effective and efficient.
How do you build a rapport with patients? Tweet me at @DrMarcusG.