Objective: This study was conducted to determine the mean consultation length in a general practice clinic for all cases as well as for acute and chronic conditions.
Methods: The main diagnosis or reason for encounter in a general practice clinic from 25 April to 15 May 1994 was coded for all consultations using a customized clinic management software.
Results: The case mix of the clinic was comparable to the general practice pattern described in the 1993 Morbidity Survey of Outpatients. The overall mean consultation length was 9.3 minutes, the median was 6.0 minutes and the mode was 3.0 minutes. The mean consultation length for representative acute, chronic, and chronic relapsing and remitting conditions were 7.1 minutes (acute upper respiratory tract infection), 7.6 minutes (hypertension), and 9.9 minutes (bronchial asthma), respectively.
Conclusion: Consultation length for a practice is dependent on the case mix of the practice, which is in turn dependent on the number of tasks required.