clockHow much time should a physician spend with their patient? In an ideal world, the answer would be as much time as needed. 

Yet, according to a new study conducted by researchers from the John Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, gone are the days where new physicians had the time to truly get to know the individuals they treat.   This new study found that physicians-in-training spend about eight minutes per day with each patient.  Reasons behind this 8 minute allotment include duty hour limitations (discussed in more detail in a previous blog post here) as well as electronic health records – which have had the unintentional consequences of hampering the physician-patient relationship.

In fact, rather than spending time tending to the patient face to face, new doctors spend almost half their day in front of a computer screen – reading charts, writing notes, entering orders, speaking with other team members and transporting patients.

New York Times medical writer Pauline Chen believes the solution may lie in enlarging federal support of residency training programs to “increase the number of trainees, decrease resident workload and make the current restrictions on hours more flexible.” Until Chen’s advice becomes reality, it seems that residents will continue to juggle the same amount of work expected from their predecessors in less time.