What should be the appropriate minimal duration for patient examination and evaluation in pulmonary outpatient clinics?
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INTRODUCTION: Patient examinations performed in a limited time period may lead to impairment in patient and physician relationship, defective and erroneous diagnosis, inappropriate prescriptions, less common use of preventive medicine practices, poor patient satisfaction, and increased violent acts against health-care staff. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to determine the appropriate minimal duration of patient examination in the pulmonary practice. METHODS: A total of 49 researchers from ten different study groups of the Turkish Thoracic Society participated in the study. The researchers were asked to examine patients in an almost ideal manner, without time constraint under available conditions. RESULTS: A total of 1680 patient examinations were reviewed. The mean duration of patient examination in ideal conditions was determined to be 20.4 +/- 9.6 min. Among all steps of patient examination, the longest time was spent for "taking medical history." The total time spent for patient examination was statistically significantly longer in the university hospitals than in the governmental hospitals and training and research hospitals (P < 0.001). Among different patient categories, the patients with a chronic disorder presenting for the first time and were referred from primary or secondary to tertiary care for further evaluation have required the longest time for patient examination. CONCLUSION: According to our study, the appropriate minimal duration for patient examination is 20 min. It has been observed that in university hospitals and in patients with chronic pulmonary diseases, this duration has been increased to above 25 min. The durations in clinical practice should be planned accordingly.