Of course, time management is very difficult in General Practice, but there are a few things you can do to minimize this problem.
- Practise the 90sec rule whenever you can ie allow the patient to talk for 90 secs before intervening. Hopefully, you will get the "whole" agenda in this timeframe.
- Another version of this is a more proactive style and that is to ask....."Hi Tom, how can I help you today?". Then state, "We'll get back to that a little bit later. So, are there any other issues you would like me to address today?" etc and then stop once you get to the end of the "whole" problem list. At this point, you will be able to negotiate with the patient which ones you can address today and which ones you will have to defer til later.
- With experience, you will intuitively know to some extent what the patient's agenda is right at the very beginning of the consult. By being aware of the patient's agenda and your own, which is to solve the problem and run on time, you'll be in a much better position to negotiate your way through the consult efficiently and effectively.