Disparities| Volume 23, ISSUE 2, P359-362, March 2023

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Time Spent at Well-Child Care Visits for English- and Spanish-Speaking Parents



      To measure duration of well-child care (WCC) visits at 2 federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), across 10 clinic sites, and determine if differences exist in visit duration for English- and Spanish-speaking parents.


      Upon arrival to their child's 2- to 24-month well visit, a research team member followed families throughout their visit noting start and end times for a series of 5 WCC visit tasks. The average time to complete each visit task for the entire sample was then calculated. Mann-Whitney U tests were run to determine if task completion time differed significantly between English- and Spanish-speaking parents.


      The total sample included 199 parents of infants and children between 2 and 24 months old. Over one third of the sample spoke Spanish as their primary language (37%). The average visit time was 77 minutes (standard deviation [SD] = 48). Median time spent with the clinician was 14 minutes (SD = 5). Clinician visit time was significantly different U = 2608, P < .001, r = 0.38 between English- (median = 15 minutes) and Spanish (median = 11 minutes)-speaking parents. No other significant differences were identified.


      Our findings align with previous studies showing the average time spent with a clinician during a WCC visit was 15 minutes. Further, the average time with a clinician was less for Spanish-speaking parents. With limited visit length to address child and family concerns, re-designing the structure and duration of WCC visits is critical to best meet the needs of families living in poverty, and may ensure that Spanish-speaking parents receive appropriate guidance and support without time limitations.


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