Recommendations for care outpace the time available for a typical primary care practice

Clinical Question

How much time does it take for a primary care clinician to implement applicable guidelines for prevention and care in a typical practice?

Bottom line

Well, it’s good to know that a typical primary care clinician with a typical patient panel on a typical day can provide all necessary preventive care and acute and chronic illness care. Yeah, I’m kidding: The true estimate, if all boxes were ticked and all problems were completely addressed for all patients, is 26.7 hours a day, including 3.2 hours each day to care for and feed the electronic medical record monster. Using team-based care helps, but at an average 9.3 hours per day, don’t expect to eat lunch or get home on time for dinner. Some pundits have asked guideline developers to consider the “time needed to treat” when formulating their advice. 5

Study design: Other

Funding: Foundation

Setting: Other


Allen F. Shaughnessy, PharmD, MMedEd
Professor of Family Medicine
Tufts University
Boston, MA

Discuss this POEM




Good study. I taught my medical students to remember, they are helpful guidelines, not rules.

James Duncan Stephenson

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I knew it. I knew it.
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