Check up hidden agendas

The study involved 43 men and 23 women who agreed to have their consultations videotaped. They had an average age of 45 years. At the start of the consultation the participants were asked why they had come. The most frequent reasons were a desire to have a general health examination to prevent illness. Although the patients had not reported symptoms when they made their appointments, 89% presented with symptoms. On average each patient had 4.2 symptoms. 

Analysis of the videotapes showed verbal and non-verbal cues in 59% of the consultations. These cues included anxiety about a particular illness, psychosocial concerns and lifestyle issues. Many of the patients revealed their hidden agenda at a subsequent consultation. A previously undiagnosed condition was found in 38% of the patients.


The request for a check-up may have a different connotation in Switzerland. At the Swiss clinic the patients could have a 45-minute