In their research paper, “Allocation of Physician Time in Ambulatory Practice: A Time and Motion Study in 4 Specialties,” Dr. Christine Sinsky et al. outline their findings about the amount of time physicians are spending on clerical work such as updating each patient’s EMR.
Spoiler alert: it is too much.
Asking physicians to update their own EMR wastes precious time that could be better used for direct patient care. The fact is, the time that physicians spend updating EMR systems is a drain in many ways. It is a drain on a physician’s billable hours and productivity. It is a drain on patient access. It is a drain on patient satisfaction. And it is just draining, period, for the physician.
How did we come to this? The answer, of course, is the unfulfilled promise of the EMR. Too many doctors have been led to believe that EMR systems will reduce workload and our reliance on staff – that somehow the patient encounters, SOAP notes, lab requests, and the myriad of other patient data would just magically appear in the patient’s file. Now, we know all too well that is not the case. Doctors are left inputting their own data, hunting and pecking their way through tedious EMR software that is often far from intuitive.
The old system of dictation and transcription worked extremely well from a clinician’s perspective. Dictation is the most efficient way to capture physician’s notes. Once the notes were recorded, clerical staff would create the documents that could be printed off and added to the patient file. The difference with EMRs is that last step of making the patient file electronic. But for some reason, we decided to scrap the first step as well. The results have been disastrous so far.
Clerical staff should still play a crucial role in patient file management, including EMRs. Asking physicians to do their own filing for hours per day is obviously inefficient. What we should work towards is a system that makes things as easy for clinicians as possible, taking advantage of technology to make them more efficient, not less.
Elite Office Solutions, Inc. has found that system. Elite provides the best of both worlds: the benefits of electronic patient files with the ease of dictation. Our documentation specialists convert dictation to text, which can then autopopulate the EMR through a seamless interface. That frees up clinicians to get back to doing what they do best – caring for patients.
Then contact Elite Office Solutions to find out how we can seamlessly integrate clerical support with your EMR. Our professional documentation specialists are trained in EMR management – including medical terms for dozens of specialties. We can tailor a package that works to your EMR system and individual clinician workflows to maximize efficiency all the way around.