Besides making a basic diagnosis and treatment taking about five minutes, a doctor might spend eight minutes obtaining personal information and family background to better understand the conditions of patients, according to Donald Li Kwok-tung, former president of the Hong Kong College of Family Physicians. 'A good primary care doctor asks about the lifestyle, family background, work conditions and medical history of a patient,' he said. 'The information helps doctors give proper health advice, such as whether the patient needs special vaccinations and health checks and how to change their lifestyle to improve their health. 'Taking all this information does not take long - probably seven or eight minutes.' Dr Li said that taking such histories may take the form of a casual chat, which also builds trust with patients. He said it was equally important to observe the mental health of patients, such as signs of whether they were at risk of depression.