profession

Interns spend little time with patients

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 6, 2013

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Medical interns spend most of their shifts occupied with indirect patient care activities such as placing orders and completing electronic documentation, while visits with patients take up 12% of their time. Those are the findings of a time-tracking study conducted among 29 interns for nearly 900 hours at two teaching hospitals in Baltimore, published online April 18 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine (link).

Interns spent 40% of their time accomplishing computer-related tasks such as researching patient histories, while 15% of their time went toward educational activities. They spent 7% of their time walking.

The results show a slight drop in direct patient engagement from studies conducted before resident work hours were restricted to 80 hours a week by Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education rules in 2003, and further tightened to 16-hour shifts in 2011. For example, an August 1998 JGIM study among 60 residents and interns found that they spent 14% of their time with patients (link).

“One of the most important learning opportunities in residency is direct interaction with patients,” said Lauren Block, MD, MPH, lead author of the new study and a clinical fellow in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. “Spending an average of eight minutes a day with each patient just doesn't seem like enough time to me.”

Back to top


ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISE HERE


Featured
Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story


Read story

Goodbye

American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story


Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story


Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story


Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story


Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story


Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story


Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story