Doctors say they are spending more time with their patients, but more physicians also are complaining that they don't have enough time for patient care, according to a survey by the Center for Studying Health System Change, Washington. The average number of hours per week physicians spent on patient care jumped by two from 1997 to 2001, and the proportion of a physician's working day devoted to direct patient care increased to 87% from 81%. However, during the same time period, the percentage of doctors reporting inadequate time with patients grew to 34% from 28%. Officials said the survey indicates doctors are being pressed by several factors -- including more diagnostic and treatment options, older patients with chronic illnesses and a growing list of preventive services. "As the practice of medicine grows more complex, physicians may be frustrated because they have too much to discuss with their patients in too little time," center President Paul Ginsburg said. -- by Michael Romano
Doctors' dilemma: Too much to do, too little time
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