Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Physicians who talk about themselves cut into visit's valuable time


Too much personal talk by doctors can be bad medicine, according to a study published on Monday in which U.S. researchers sent actors posing as new patients to see doctors in secretly recorded visits.

Doctors often wasted time in what already may have been short visits and stifled the flow of information from patients by gabbing about themselves, their own health problems, their families and their political beliefs, the study found.

The doctors engaged in such "personal disclosures" in 34 percent of visits tracked by the researchers. The personal talk may have been well-intentioned — to deepen a doctor-patient relationship — but yielded little of value to patients and sometimes was counterproductive, the researchers said.


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