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Br J Gen Pract. Dec 2002; 52(485): 1004–1006.
PMCID: PMC1314472

Consultation length, patient-estimated consultation length, and satisfaction with the consultation.


Lack of time is a frequently expressed patient concern, but actual measured consultation length is often not associated with patient satisfaction. Correlational analysis of patients from nine GP practices was used to test the hypothesis that patients' perceptions of consultation length are influenced not just by actual consultation length, but by other aspects of their experience of consultations. The consultations of 160 patients were timed, and patients in subsequent interviews gave estimates of consultation duration and completed a satisfaction questionnaire. Consultations where patients were more satisfied appeared to patients to have lasted longer (partial correlation r = 0.26), but were not actually longer. Patient concerns about time may be as much about quality time as about actual time.

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Selected References

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