For a long time, doctors’ interruptions have been seen as aggressively masculine behaviors that discourage patients from speaking up during appointments, but there hasn’t been any comprehensive research on the impact of these pauses on the doctor-patient interaction. This research aimed to analyze the frequency and nature of interruptions made by patients and primary care physicians during consultations. The interruptions made by 17 primary care physicians and 84 patients with common somatic complaints were categorized and quantitatively assessed for their type (cooperative vs. invasive). A mixed-effects logistic regression model was used to evaluate the data, with the role, gender, and consultation phase serving as predictors. Only 17.1% of the 2,405 disruptions were disruptive. Male doctors were more likely to interrupt than female doctors (β=0.43; SE=0.21; OR=1.54; 95% CI=1.03-2.31), while male patients were less likely to interrupt (β=-0.35; SE=0.17; OR=0.70; 95% CI=0.50-0.98). In the problem presentation phase (β= 0.71; SE, 0.23; OR=2.03; 95% CI, 1.30-3.20), patient interruptions were more likely to be intrusive than physician interruptions, but this was not the case during the diagnosis and/or treatment plan discussion phase (β=-0.17; SE, 0.15; OR=0.85; 95% CI, 0.63-1.15). Most disruptions during clinical interactions are intended to be helpful and improve patient care. Part, gender, and the consultation stage all have a role in the dynamics of interruptions between doctors and their patients.

Source:  annfammed.org/content/20/5/423