TIme

Our first day at Telluride Summer Camp has been full of inspiring and thought-provoking presentations about mindfulness, active listening, and high reliability organizations. However one question that keeps coming to my mind is, how do we strive to give patients the time and attention that they deserve while practicing in a system that has too few health care providers? This afternoon, we learned about many different barriers to communication which fell into the three categories of judgement, impatience, and preoccupation. When conference participants were asked to report their weakest areas, impatience was an obvious front runner for the group. Considering how little time providers have to spend with patients –the average primary care follow up appointments are allotted only 15 minutes- this wasn’t a surprise at all for me. It is doubtlessly important to evaluate and break down our barriers to communication with patients, but it’s equally important to maximize the utility of each short patient interaction. We can learn how to be active listeners and how to paraphrase our patients’ words, but if we still only have 15 minutes with each patient, we need to learn how to be both active and efficient listeners.

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