Sometimes folks that aren't in medicine have a hard time understanding quite how crammed-full our days are. When we explain that we created a healthcare collaboration tool that prioritizes efficiency and lets providers work on their own schedule, they often say, "Yeah, but what's so bad about 30 minutes on the phone discussing a case, or adding 10 minutes to a visit?" There's nothing bad about either of those things, of course -- the only issue is that it would literally be impossible to spend that time for one patient, much less for dozens.
But healthcare providers' days aren't taken up by patient care. In the Annals of Internal Medicine, it is found that physicians spend twice as much time on the EHR and desk work than seeing patients, based on 430 hours of observation of 57 physicians. Of these, 21 physicians kept a diary after hours. The setting was ambulatory practice of 4 specialties in 4 different states. The specialties were family medicine, internal medicine, cardiology, and orthopedics.
49.2% of the day was spent on EHR and desk work. As for actually seeing patients: only 27% of physicians' day was spent directly face-to-face with their patients.
And sadly, considering our observations about burnout, at home, another 1-2 hours was spent on EHR tasks, catching up. Our own observations confirm this.
Even more astounding, in the examination room itself, 53% of the time was with the patients and 37% with the EHR.
The time spent is, indeed, shocking. But even more worrisome, is the cost to creative problem solving, compassion, listening, relationship to the doctor-patient relationship and to the doctors themselves.
Of course, care coordination and healthcare collaboration can be the first to go. We know that telephone tag rarely takes less than 5 minutes and can extend to 15 minutes. Yes, one can multitask and place the phone on the desk, listen to hold music, and be interrupted only by “your call is important to us, we will be with you shortly." This is exactly what led us to start ClickCare, many years ago. We knew there had to be a better way. And we learned we could begin to collaborate richly with pictures and words, quickly, and be done before the last hiss of the Keurig cup from the coffee machine.
There is a better way. We hope for more balance where billing, counting and documenting are replaced by caring, compassion and thinking.
Until then, we are here to help. Maybe that hour or two of EHR work at home can be regained by saving hours not doing telephone tag but instead doing speedy healthcare collaboration. And without a doubt, that nagging feeling of having failed to do the right thing will be dispelled.
You can try iClickCare for free, today: