Factors relating to patient visit time with a physician

Alice W. Migongo, Richard Charnigo, Margaret M. Love, Richard Kryscio, Steven T. Fleming, Kevin A. Pearce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This study sought to identify factors that increase or decrease patient time with a physician, determine which combinations of factors are associated with the shortest and longest visits to physicians, quantify how much physicians contribute to variation in the time they spend with patients, and assess how well patient time with a physician can be predicted. Data were acquired from a modified replication of the 1997-1998 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, administered by the Kentucky Ambulatory Network to 56 primary care clinicians at 24 practice sites in 2001 and 2002. A regression tree and a linear mixed model (LMM) were used to discover multivariate associations between patient time with a physician and 22 potentially predictive factors. Patient time with a physician was related to the number of diagnoses, whether non-illness care was received, and whether the patient had been seen before by the physician or someone at the practice. Approximately 38% of the variation in patient time with a physician was accounted for by predictive factors in the tree; roughly 33% was explained by predictive factors in the LMM, with another 12% linked to physicians. Knowledge of patient characteristics and needs could be used to schedule office visits, potentially improving patient flow through a clinic and reducing waiting times.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-104
Number of pages12
JournalMedical Decision Making
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Kentucky Ambulatory Network
  • National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey
  • primary care
  • time with a physician
  • visit length

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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