One minute in three of the general practitioner's office time is consumed by tasks neglected in most medical schools—office administration and physician-patient conversations.
The bright, young men following 25 Missouri physicians around their offices carried watches. But they were precepting medical students, not "efficiency experts."
What both physicians and students sought, "was an equation between teaching and office practice," University of Missouri investigators told a recent San Francisco meeting.
The 25 general practitioners, had their in-office activities monitored during a single day when no out-of-office activities were planned, said F. Marion Bishop, PhD, MPH.
Since all participants were in towns of 10,000 or less, the analysis most closely reflects rural practice. However, the general lines of the urban office day probably are very similar.
Speaking to the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine, Dr. Bishop said each physician's moment-to-moment activities were recorded in both "log" form and on individual patient