Exam-room communication: Truth in numbers

Exam-room communication: Truth in numbers

These statistics reveal hard facts about average client interactions.
source-image
Mar 01, 2010

In a field know for its warm fuzzies toward animals and their owners, veterinarians fell way short in their use of empathy with clients in the 2008 JAVMA communication study. Only 7 percent of doctors used statements of empathy during any type of appointment! Here are a few more findings, surprising or not, from the study:

> Veterinarians appeared hurried during 20 percent of problem appointments.

> Clients appeared anxious during 26 percent of the problem appointments, and emotionally distressed during 14 percent.

> Appointments, wellness or otherwise, lasted an average of 13 minutes.

> Veterinarians dominated most conversations, contributing 62 percent of the medical dialogue statements—54 percent directed to the client and 8 percent to the patient.

> Clients who visited a veterinarian for a problem-specific appointment made significantly more visits to a veterinarian annually than did clients who had brought their animals for a wellness appointment.

> Veterinarians talked twice as much to the pet during wellness appointments as they did during problem appointments.

> Veterinarians made significantly more statements of reassurance during wellness appointments than during problem appointments.

> Doctors were significantly more likely to ask for the client's opinion during wellness appointments, but more likely to ask about the client's understanding during problem appointments.

Hot topics on dvm360

Blog: Election results pose obstacles for veterinary prescription law

Flip in U.S. Senate's majority may slow progress of Fairness to Pet Owners Act.

7 steps to a better relationship between veterinarians and rescue groups

A DVM in the city shares his advice to veterinary practices for working with rescues.

The war between shelters, veterinarians needs to end

Despite practitioners’ legitimate gripes, they’re hurting themselves.

Making it work: Cavanaugh Pet Hospital dedicates itself to a positive, productive shelter relationship

Watch "Moustakas" benefit from Cavanaugh Pet Hospital's partnership with Furry Kids Refuge.

Ebola-exposed dog's first test for the virus is negative

Bentley will continue to be treated with an abundance of caution for the remainder of his quarantine, while his owner has been declared 'virus-free.'