The team specifically analyzed the first few minutes of the 112 consultations, looking to find out how frequently doctors let the patients dictate the conversation through inquiries such as “Tell me what brings you in today,” or “What can I do for you today?” If patients were given the opportunity to set the agenda, the researchers then timed the responses to see how long they could speak before the doctor interrupted them.

The results showed that just 36% of doctors ask questions that allowed patients to set the agenda, but two-thirds (67%) of those patients were interrupted after responding. Researchers calculated the doctors cut patients off 11 seconds on average into a response, while those who were able to describe their issue in full needed only six seconds to do so.