This paper focuses attention, in a modest empirical way, on a hitherto unexplored phenomenon. Widespread in Israel, the interrupted patient-physician consultation may or may not be found extensively elsewhere. It is assumed that interruptions coming from the social environment affect communication and hence diagnosis and therapy, as well as satisfaction of both doctor and patient. Observations were conducted in a random sample of 100 consultations, averaging 9.4 minutes, of four physicians in a neighbourhood health centre in Israel. Interruptions were recorded in 94 cases, with an average of 1.36 interruptions per consultation. Contrary to Israeli myth, most interruptions were not by other patients but by clinic staff. The phenomenon is considered in terms of cultural practices and the consequences of group practice, nurse autonomy and medical student teaching. Further research is proposed to study the extent, sources and consequences of interruptions in family practice and, if warranted, methods of coping.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Family Practice