Patients and patience: How doctors and their patients experience time differently

    Time is a major issue when it comes to medical care. Waiting for appointments. Waiting for test results. Waiting on the phone, to speak to somebody in the doctor’s office.

    How do healthcare providers think about their patients’ time? In their weekly conversation, WHYY’s Behavioral Health reporter Maiken Scott and Dr. Dan Gottlieb discuss the patience it takes to be a patient.

    Their conversation was inspired by a recent essay written by Columbia psychiatrist and ethicist Dr. Robert Klitzman. “Doctors experience time very differently than patients, but usually don’t realize that this discrepancy exists,” writes Klitzman in his article entitled “The Doctor will see you … When?” which appeared in the Huffington Post.

    Klitzman describes that he recently interviewed a group of doctors who had become patients, and who described that they suddenly experience time very differently.

    “Only when they become patients themselves do many doctors realize that patients wait much more than necessary – even to receive the results of medical tests,” added Klitzman.

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