Doctors' offices lose millions to magazine theft, BMJ study says

Why Doctors' Offices Only Have Old Magazines
Why Doctors' Offices Only Have Old Magazines

Many have no doubt wondered why their doctor only puts out old, often dull magazines for waiting patients to read, but a doctor and his colleagues decided to get to the bottom of the matter. Their findings, which exposed a dark side of human behavior, were recently reported in The BMJ, a medical journal.

It was revealed that the source of the problem is the patients themselves, as a shocking number of them pilfer the good reads, and it could cost practices in the UK $19 million, assuming the magazines cost about $5 per issue.

Heading the research endeavor was New Zealand doctor and professor Bruce Arroll who used his own office as a testing ground. He and his cohorts began by stocking the waiting room with a lush selection of periodicals, both old and new. For research purposes, categories were established. 'Gossipy' was assigned to magazines that featured at least five celebrities on their covers. Those with over 10 were deemed 'Most Gossipy.' Time and the Economist made up the general classification of 'Non Gossipy.'

Stringent monitoring of inventory revealed that the stock of celebrity-laden offerings was almost entirely wiped out by the 31-day test period's end. Conversely, none of the Time and Economist issues went missing. The study's authors concluded that doctors are best advised to only stock outdated publications of the non-gossipy variety.

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