Doctors typically enter the health care industry because they want to save lives and empower people to take control of their well-being. However, their time spent delivering care to patients is often hindered due to the increasing burden of today’s administrative demands. These clerical duties include electronic health record (EHR) and desk work — and often cost hospitals, clinics, and private practices time and money.
Read on to find out how administrative work adversely affects providers and patient care, as well as how to combat this concern.
The main sources of dissatisfaction for providers is EHR and desk work, paperwork, patient non-compliance, and the complexities of the payer systems. When clinicians have an overload of paperwork and other clerical duties, they may experience burnout, professional isolation and time pressures. These consequences can lead to the loss of quality patient care or treatment. In fact, providers who experience burnout typically reduce their working hours, which limits their time spent with patients. The responsibilities of completing paperwork and other clinical documentation typically result in a longer workday and lower professional satisfaction.
A workload of clerical duties also directly affects the patient-physician relationship and unnecessarily interrupts the delivery of quality care. For example, providers can get easily distracted by piles of paperwork and might not be able to give their full attention and expertise to patients.
Similarly, reduced patient interaction may worsen the quality of the visit, since the physician might appear unsympathetic and less aware of the individual’s needs and concerns. The patient therefore becomes a bystander of the care experience when he or she should be put first. Moreover, when the doctor experiences burnout, the safety of the patient is at risk. All of these components lead to a stressed health care experience for the physician as well as the patient.
While there is no magic solution for eliminating paperwork and other administrative duties in the health care industry, there are, however, many ways to ease the burdens on providers and patients. For example, hospitals, clinics and private practices may want to consider redesigning their clinical workflow to enhance efficiency and processing time. Leveraging certain technologies may also ease clerical burdens, such as updating EHR usability.
Hiring additional members of the care team may also alleviate the workload for physicians. Having a team-based approach to inputting data and filing documentation can ensure each member takes turns with administrative responsibilities. This may help lower the risk of burnout for the physician as well as the entire care team.
To learn more about the impact of administrative burdens on physicians and patient care, see the accompanying resource.