J Rheum Dis 2020; 27(1): 45-50  
A Survey Study on Rheumatologist Consultation Time in Korean Hospitals
Hyun Ah Kim, M.D., Ph.D.1,2, Min Gwan Kim3
1Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital, Anyang,
2Institute for Skeletal Aging, Hallym University, 3College of Medicine, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Korea
Correspondence to: Hyun Ah Kim http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9318-7446
Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital, 22 Gwanpyeong-ro 170beon-gil, Dongan-gu, Anyang 14068, Korea. E-mail:kimha@hallym.ac.kr
Received: August 16, 2019; Revised: October 13, 2019; Accepted: October 15, 2019; Published online: January 1, 2020.
© Korean College of Rheumatology. All rights reserved.

This is a open Access article, which permits unrestricted non-commerical use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Objective. In Korea, short physician consultation time has been a cause of concern as it compromises the care provided. This study was aimed at finding the actual and optimal consultation time per patient for rheumatology outpatient clinic in Korea. Methods. The surveys were prepared based on a study of the literature and consisted of multiple-choice questions as well as additional open questions. Surveys were conducted from November to February, 2018∼2019. Rheumatologist members of the Korean College of Rheumatology were invited to complete the web-based survey as well as paper survey. Results. The mean duration of consultation allocated to a new and an established patient was found to be 12.3 and 4.8 minutes, respectively, which corresponded to only 22%∼35.3% of perceived optimal consultation time. On the other hand, the intrusion of physician autonomy for optimal patient care by the hospital executive was manifest such that only 4.7% responded discretion in allocating consultation time for patients and that 61.3% replied that they have been restrained from keeping the adequate outpatient clinic volumes. Sixty six percent of respondents replied that insufficient consultation time affects patient safety including errors in prescription. Conclusion. Rheumatology consultation time is very insufficient compared to optimal situation. A drastic change in health care policy promoting good quality of care, such as appropriate compensation which guarantees sufficient consultation time, as well as strong policy to control excessive profit-driven management policy of the hospitals is urgently needed.
Keywords: Quality of health care, Rheumatology, Ambulatory care

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