The medical consultation is an important moment of connection between health professional and patient because through this meeting it is possible to collect information to arrive at a diagnosis.  The duration of consultation may vary according to each case, but it is important to establish a minimum duration as well as a time limit.

The fact is that many health professionals are in doubt when it comes to stipulating the duration of their consultations, and this occurs because there are patients with different profiles. Another point to be analyzed is the delay that such duration can generate between consultations, one of the biggest complaints among patients is precisely the delay of health professionals.

Before we continue, we need to know: Do you already use medical software to perform your consultations at the clinic? We invite you to get to know Ninsaúde Apolo, online software that can be used on a tablet, smartphone, or in the traditional way, on computers. Learn more on our website

In addition to delays, there is another constant complaint among many patients: the length of the appointment. This is because some people feel that the service was so fast that there was not enough openness to detail all the symptoms. Still in this sense, some say that time is limited to the point of not being able to understand the diagnosis or treatment, causing him to leave the professional's room many times with more doubts than when he entered.

It is important to know that there is not exactly a law that says how long the health professional must take to see a patient, therefore, it is up to the professional himself to establish this duration. However, it is recommended that there be 3 to 4 consultations per hour (in elective cases), and taking into account that 1h has 60 minutes, each appointment should last between 15 and 20 minutes. This time is an estimate, and several factors must be evaluated, in particular, the type of query executed.

For example, a first query might be fast enough to take a maximum of 15 minutes, but depending on the case, it can take up to 30. Therefore, everything will depend on the case of each patient, whether tests will be carried out in the service room or whether they will be requested externally, among other details that those who are used to the service room already know well.

Another point to note is your medical specialty. Each specialty deals with cases with different degrees of complexity, so that your schedule is more organized and you can make better use of your schedules, make a balance of all your patient types and update your schedule. Something that many health professionals often do,  is to reserve certain days of the week for certain types of service. In this sense, you can ask the secretary to schedule first appointment services only on Mondays, reserve Tuesdays for returns, and the other days of the week, use for common appointments with recurring patients.

With a divided agenda, you can better prepare for your calls and you can also fill the agenda so that the duration of each appointment does not interfere with the others, as late appointments are a big nightmare for many patients. Imagine that the patient has an appointment scheduled for 2:00 pm but you are only able to see him around 3:00 pm. Surely he will be so frustrated with the delay that if you don't have a plausible justification, he may not come back to your office.

Regardless of how long a consultation lasts, the health professional must be aware that the time spent with each patient must be the minimum to provide quality care, possible that through that service, the patient can tell as much detail as possible so that the health professional can develop exams, diagnosis, and possible treatments.

For a good organization of your consultations, we recommend that you use medical software where you can structure the agenda correctly and distribute the duration of the consultations automatically. Check below how this is possible using Ninsaúde Apolo.

To organize the timetable, simply access your health professional record and check the average duration established in the record. Then confirm which days of the week you will perform the attendances.

The next step is to configure the services. As mentioned before, for each type of care, the health professional may take a longer or shorter time during the consultation, and you can preset this duration within the software. For example, if in a service called "First consultation" you take an average of 15 minutes, make this assignment to the service in your registration in the system.

Also, if you prefer, you can choose the option "Use the average duration of the professional", where the system will take into account the duration entered in the health professional's record. The duration entered directly into the service is valid for any clinic professional who uses that service in their appointments.

After performing this configuration, whenever the secretary schedules a patient, when selecting the service, the system itself fills in the duration when it's configured. In addition, in the agenda itself in day and week formats, it is possible to visualize the average duration of the health professional on the left side of the screen (where the agenda counts from 15 to 15, 20 to 20, and so on, according to the duration chosen in the professional's registration). Also, according to the duration of the service, the appointment card will take up more or less space on the agenda.

Check the example below, where the average duration of the professional is 30 minutes (noted on the left side of the agenda),  the service "first appointment" has a duration of 20 minutes, however, the others have 30 minutes, occupying a larger space, which facilitates the visual perception with the appointments. Note that in the agenda it is also possible to block schedules in situations where the health professional commits, as in the example below where there is the meeting event on the agenda.

To make the health professional's life even easier, the Ninsaúde Apolo software also has a timer, where, through it, the doctor can view the duration of care in real-time. When starting the service, the timer is black; when you reach the halfway point, it turns yellow; when exceeding the stipulated duration, the timer turns red, so the health professional can know that the service is beyond the pre-established average duration. The timer is located in the upper left corner of the screen and serves only as an alert, that is, he does not finish the service on his own, for example.

So, did you like our tips? Keep following the blog for more articles like this one, and if you still don't use management software to make your calls, come and meet Ninsaúde Apolo.