A new pilot study of doctor visits has shown that the average duration of a consultation was 14.1 minutes, and that patients had an average time between consultations of 99 days.
The research entitled 'A pilot study of the duration of GP consultations in Ireland' looked at data from three different GP surgeries and 15 GPs over a nine-year period from 2010.
In total, data on the duration of 13,786 consultations involving 577 individual patients were extracted.
Patient characteristics from the sample showed a mean age of over 63, with just under two-thirds of those attending the consultations public patients.
The presence of Type 2 diabetes was also a common characteristic.
The data was captured using Socrates GP software package and according to the study: "This pilot study confirms that Irish GP consultation workload has the potential to be objectively measured over time, using an easily accessible, low-cost data source.
"There are potentially a wide range of uses for such data.
"These include monitoring trends in average durations over time to show the effects of policy interventions on GP utilisation, identifying capacity constraints across the country and the impact of these on consultation times, and assisting GPs to benchmark against each other."
The research, funded by the Health Research Board, found that on average patients had 99 days between consultations, which on average took just over 14 minutes.
The authors were from departments in University College Cork, the National University of Ireland Galway, University of Limerick and Queen's University Belfast.
The study said expanded data could be used to assess the impact of policy changes, such as the introduction of universal health care.
It added: "It is interesting to note that despite increased demands on GP time, consultation durations increased in two out of the three practices over the period.
"Whether this is typical of other patient groups or other GP practices is unclear."