Duration of opening statement of patients attending a chronic pain clinic consultation.

Affiliation

Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. [Email]

Abstract

BACKGROUND : The opening patient statement is an important part of the medical consultation. It is where after the initial solicitation the physician gets information about the patient's current problems and concerns. Previous research shows that 23-28% of patients are allowed to complete their opening statement un-interruptedly in the general practice setting. Interruption results in fewer patient concerns expressed and failure to gather potentially important patient information.
OBJECTIVE : The objective of the study was to assess the duration of opening statements of patients attending a chronic pain clinic consultation.
METHODS : Prospective observational study SETTING: Chronic pain clinic. University teaching hospital METHODS: Following written informed consent, data was collected prospectively from 100 adult patients attending a chronic pain clinic consultation at a university hospital. We recorded the time of the opening statement following a standardized opening question by the pain physician. No verbal or non-verbal interruption by the physician was made during the patient's opening statement.
RESULTS : Out of 100 adult patients, 37% (n = 37) were male and 63% (n = 63) were female. Mean age (years) was 54.4. The mean opening statement time was 89 s.
CONCLUSIONS : The study is limited by being a single-centered study.
CONCLUSIONS : The duration of opening statements of patients attending a chronic pain clinic consultation when systematically studied takes a very short amount of time. It is important that all interruptions should be avoided. Our findings should encourage physicians to allow patients to complete their opening statements un-interruptedly in the chronic pain clinic.

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