Patients in Bangladesh get on average of 48 seconds of consultation from their doctors, a study says, noting that surveys of primary care physicians suggest that shorter consultations compromise the care provided.
The average consultation length in Bangladesh was way below that of developed countries like Sweden where a doctor gave a patient 22.5 minutes on average.
“We found that 18 countries representing about 50% of the global population spend 5min or less with their primary care physicians,” researchers noted in their study ‘International variations in primary care physician consultation time: A systematic review of 67 countries’, published in the British Medical Journal last week.
Such short consultation length is likely to “adversely affect patient care and the workload and stress of the consulting physician”, they added.
In countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and China, individual primary care physicians may undertake over 90 consultations a day with a considerable amount of time taken up providing repeat prescriptions.
The study found that consultation length of primary care physicians varied markedly across the world.
Average consultation length is also a quality indicator used by the WHO.
The researchers also found significant associations between consultation length and healthcare spending per capita, admissions to hospital with ambulatory sensitive conditions, primary care physician density, physician efficiency and physician satisfaction.
The study is the largest international review of consultation length to date and includes six languages, 67 countries and 111 publications, which represent 28 million primary care consultations worldwide.
Here is the study-