Do Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth? The Effect Of Observers On Doctor-Patient Interaction

Is your doctor listening? Maybe not so well, if there are other health professionals or medical students observing, according to this study of 5 plastic surgeons in 63 outpatient consultations. When other health professionals were present, visits were longer, with fewer patient questions answered. Although this is an observational study of just a few plastic surgeons which limits causal inferences or generalizability, it does raise an interesting question about the role of the observer in the patient-doctor interaction.—Sarang Kim, MD

Bristowe K1, Patrick PL. Do too many cooks spoil the broth? The effect of observers on doctor-patient interaction. Med Educ. 2012 Aug;46(8):785-94.

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