Wasting Doctors’ Time

In a new study in Health Affairs it was found that physicians log “an average of 3.08 hours on office visits and 3.17 hours on desktop medicine each day”.  So, to summarize, MORE time is spend on the damn EMR!!  Now the authors of the study did make a bold prediction that there is “potential for physician burnout with EHR use.”  Really? Ya think?  I wasn’t sure whether this would be a candidate for the “Ridiculous Study of the Week” award or not as it definitely had potential.

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Why are we allowing our healthcare system to force doctors to practice medicine this way? And don’t think nurses don’t have to do the same thing.  There is no proof that this hyper-documentation helps anyone.  The quality metrics are bogus.  The information is being sold to third parties or stolen. Doctors are miserable. Patients are unsatisfied.  And yet…and yet..it continues. Why?  Because it makes administrators happy.  They get bonuses.  They get gold stars.  The hospitals brag about their data and the CEOs pat themselves on the back.  Meanwhile the grunts in the trenches, doctors and nurses, continues to break down.

It is time for a change.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  5 comments for “Wasting Doctors’ Time

  1. John Stewart
    April 19, 2017 at 9:11 am

    You didn’t mention the other big reason this is how medicine is now: risk management and lawyers.

  2. Dave F
    April 18, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    If I’m late getting out of a shift, 98 times out of 100 it’s because of documentation NOT patient care…

    And the nurses? Last week I checked to see whether the STEMI patient I was seeing had gotten the nitro I ordered…the answer was ‘Not yet, sorry I was documenting….’

    Seriously? Has it really come to this? Even in a true emergent condition…..

  3. Pat
    April 18, 2017 at 7:34 am

    More work + more debt => for less money + less time

    What starry-eyed moonbeam student could resist?

  4. April 18, 2017 at 7:27 am

    At some point there will be a John Galt movement out of this system.

    • Steve O'
      April 18, 2017 at 8:04 am

      Retirement, and DPS – they’re both a version of Galt’s strike. It’s a tradition to quote the physician in Atlas Shrugged, Dr. Hendricks.

      “Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I would not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything — except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the ‘welfare’ of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, only ‘to serve.’ That a man who’s willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at the smugness with which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind — yet what is it that they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands?”

      When the competent go on strike, they are replaced by the incompetent, who insist upon the titles, glories and adulation that they perceive the job once entitled to others, and now entitles them. They become grotesque puppets resembling their predecessors. Doctors of Nursing, Doctors of Oriental Medicine (aka acupuncturists), Doctors of Naprapathy (massage), prescribing Doctors of Pharmacy (RPh) – they all demand the debased term of Doctor, as though it means anything. Once it indicated a certain level of competence in the medical arts. Not now.

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