Study: U.S. Patients Get Less Face Time with Primary Care Docs

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<p>Patients in the United States have far less face time with primary care physicians than do patients in Australia and New Zealand, say the authors of a new <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=29043&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D508058%26%23doc508058">Commonwealth Fund-supported study</a> published in <em>BMJ.</em><br><br>Using survey data from the three nations, researchers led by Andrew B. Bindman, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, found that the average American spends a total of about 30 minutes annually with a primary care physician. That is about half the time New Zealand patients spend and one-third the time Australian patients spend. Although a primary care visit in the U.S. runs about 10 percent longer than in Australia and New Zealand, patients in the latter two countries see primary care physicians more often. The U.S. Prevention Services Task Force recommends an estimated average of 37 minutes a year for children and 40 minutes for adults.<br><br>"The severe shortfall of available time in primary care for prevention and chronic care management in the U.S. could partially explain why the U.S. does not have health outcomes that correspond to its overall investment in health care," the study's authors conclude.</p>