As a director of an arthritis service with 7 rheumatologists, I do have an interest in stats.
As I finished up seeing my last patient at midday on the 31st December, it occurred to me to quickly check how many patients I’d seen for the calendar year.
I know many rheumatologists who see patients at a faster rate, and I also know rheumatologists who take more time with their patients than me.
So, when interpreting these figures, you need to know a little more about my timetable:
- My new patient consultations are 45 minutes long. Follow up consultations are scheduled at 15 minute intervals.
- I took 4 weeks annual leave.
- Time away on conference totalled 3 weeks.
- The figures do not include patients who have booked and then don’t bother showing up.
- I generally work 7-8 clinics a week where I see patients, with 28-32 hours reserved for direct patient contact (the rest of my week involves meetings or administrative type work).
- The figures don't include phone calls, emails, paperwork.
Between 1st January and 31st December, I performed (rough figures generated by our patient management software):
- 677 new patient consultations
- 2820 follow-up consultations
- 79 telehealth video consultations with patients living in rural Australia
- 332 ultrasound examinations (with Lisa, our ultrasonographer)
- 138 joint injections (an underestimation as we don’t track all of these)
That’s roughly 72765 minutes of patient contact over 45 working weeks.
77.7 patient consultations per week.
Now that I've calculated this, it doesn't sound like that many.
But, at the risk of sounding a bit wimpy, it still feels like hard work at times.Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here.
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