As physicians, we went to medical school to care for patients, put together a diagnostic puzzle, and give them our undivided attention. We wanted to help people when they were at their most vulnerable. I remember starting my first day as an actual doctor, a pediatric intern. I learned how to take a proper history and physical, documenting all my findings while ordering pertinent tests. Fast forward 16 years later, and I am thrown into the world of Electronic Medical/Health Records (EMR/EHR). While the writing was clearer and the orders were transmitted easier, the EMR added a barrier between the doctor and patient. Instead of talking to the patient, most physicians are looking at the computer and typing while taking the patient’s history. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that for every hour of direct patient care, physicians are spending 2 hours on paperwork/charting!
Paperwork from the insurance companies, pharmaceutical per-authorizations and forms designed by non-physicians are overwhelming. Worse, doctors often having minimal support staff who can help complete these forms. Frequently, our staff can only complete so much of the required information and it eventually comes to our desk to fill the gaps. Them we only pray that our patients gets the treatment and/or medications they need.
The EMR and paperwork issei’s continues to overwhelm physicians with no end in sight. We are training physicians-in-training clerical techniques! They are leaning to click unnecessary boxes which have no bearing on the quality of patient care. Not surprisingly, this adds to physician burnout. We are frustrated and overwhelmed by tasks that take us away from patient care which is the thing we love to do. We end up losing perspective on what is the meaning of our careers. Instead, we are forced by hospital systems, insurance and pharmaceutical companies to to meet meaningful use criteria. The result is that physicians are feeling increasingly disatisfied, which leaves patients dissatisfied and thereby affecting patient care. Unfortunately, many of these decisions are not made by the people who ACTUALLY care for these patients. As physicians, we train for years, sacrifice a great deal and take all the risk in caring for patients. It’s time for us physicians to #takebackmedicine.Tweet