Since the advent of the Electronic Medical Record (EMR), the practice of medicine has radically changed. EMRs offer the advantage of legible records, electronic sharing of information and a uniform method of record keeping. The EMR also offers opportunities for data and disease analysis, documentation of levels of care required for billing purposes, the ability to compare recorded care and care plans between providers and unfortunately the opportunity through cutting and pasting and carryover of data to create inaccurate records. In addition, the EMR is so much longer than a traditional record that the real purpose of the visit and the critical information can get lost in this more extensive record.
Insurance companies, employers, the government and other entities can use these records for quality analysis, community analysis of disease treatment and any other form of healthcare statistics that they deem useful.
Unfortunately, the time required to complete an EMR, the loss of patient contact being replaced by computer screen contact and the constantly shortened time of a patient visit creates its own problems. In an ideal world, the physician should be spending their time taking a history, performing an examination, reviewing test results, having a meaningful conversation with the patient about their condition and discussing the treatment plan. This necessary patient-physician contact is being sacrificed for data entry.
Physicians often spend up to one full day’s worth of time per week doing the EMR and other compliance requirements that are now part of the practice of medicine in the 21st century.
These new burdens are uncompensated and have created a problem in the physician community that has either been called Physician Burnout or Physician Abuse. This has resulted in physician dissatisfaction and created a whole set of other problems for the physician community.
All of us are exposed to this issue in varying degrees and the situation is not improving.
As a physician community, we should share our thoughts, experiences, and recommendations for possible solutions to this growing and serious problem.
Please join in on our social media platforms and participate in the discussion.