Effect of patient age on duration of medical encounters with physicians

Emmett B. Keeler, David H. Solomon, John C. Beck, Robert C. Mendenhall, Robert L. Kane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


The authors analyzed the USC/DRME Practice Study data to determine if the characteristics of physician patient encounters change with patient age. The only significant change observed was a decline in encounter time for patients 65 years of age and older compared with those 45 through 64 years of age. This decrease was significant for raw data and for data weighted for the number of physicians of various types and standardized for complexity of case mix in various age groups, also for both nonhospital and hospital encounters and for almost all classes of encounters. Three types of generalists and four types of medical subspecialists were studied; encounter times for all types were, for patients 65 and older, either the same as or less than those for patients 45 through 64. The observed phenomenon may reflect a conscious decision on the part of some physicians to allot less time to elderly patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1101-1108
Number of pages8
JournalMedical care
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1982


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