Only 11 seconds...


Doctors only spend 11 seconds on average listening to patients before interrupting them, according to a study.

The study found that 67 percent of patients were interrupted after responding and only 36 percent of doctors even ask questions that invited patients to direct the focus of the conversation. Specialists allowed even less time than primary care doctors, potentially because specialists are often briefed on the reason for the visit beforehand.

In primary care visits, 49 percent of patients were able to explain their agenda, while in specialty visits, only 20 percent of patients were allowed to explain their reason for visiting. For specialty care visits, eight out of 10 patients were interrupted even if they were allowed to share their agenda.

There could be many reasons that many doctors haven't been allowing patients to speak, including a lack of communication training, time constraints or burnout, researchers say. The scientists hope that future studies might reveal if allowing a patient to speak longer would positively affect the outcome of the visit.