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Isr Med Assoc J. 1999 Dec;1(4):241-4.

Hallway medicine: prevalence, characteristics and attitudes of hospital physicians.

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Unit of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Soroka Medical Center, Beer Sheva, Israel.



Hallway medicine is an integral part of physicians' medical culture, but little is known about it.


To characterize the practice of hallway medicine among hospital physicians, both as providers and consumers.


We conducted a survey of 112 randomly chosen hospital physicians at the Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva, Israel between November 1997 and May 1998. A self-administered 39-item questionnaire was used that included sociodemographic data, the extent to which hallway medicine is practiced, and satisfaction from and attitudes to it.


Of the 112 selected physicians, 111 responded (99.1%). Of these, 91 (82%) had been asked by their colleagues to provide hallway medicine. Most of them (91%) agreed because of "willingness to help," because "it's unpleasant to refuse," or "it's the acceptable thing to do." Most of the requests (72%) were unscheduled and time consuming (41% up to 10 minutes and 21% more than 20 minutes). Records were kept in only 36% of the cases and follow-up in 62%. Physicians who provided hallway medicine were also consumers of it (P < 0.001), based on personal acquaintance, time saved and easy accessibility. In general, the attitude to hallway medicine was negative (54%) or ambiguous (37%). Most requests for hallway medicine were made to Israeli-trained physicians, surgeons or gynecologists, and senior physicians.


Hallway medicine is practiced frequently among hospital physicians. A formal organization of health care service within medical centers might provide physicians with better medical care and reduce potential ethical, medical, legal, psychosocial and economic problems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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