A doctors dilemma
Comments are often more powerful than the original topic, and while going through a CNN article professing the Doctors’ patient contact, I got a chance to see the following comment from some one who chose to nickname himself KidDoc – possibly a Paediatrics.
“We DO want to spend more time with the patients and families, but are not give the chance. I am in a university hospital, and we are REQUIRED to put everything in the electronic record, which slows us down tremendously- the system sucks- freezes frequently, not intuitive…. If we do not see enough patients or if our patients do not show up (so we cannot bill them) we have to return part of our salary to the hospital- and this salary is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than what we would make in private practice. I have already figured out that I make less per hour than a plumber (I am not kidding- I pay a plumber $75 an hour to fix my toilet, and I don’t get anywhere near that)… and this is after 4 years college+ 4 years med school + over 7 years of residency training in a specialty to treat very sick children. The paperwork keeps increasing, and I don’t get a penny for filling any of that out. You think your doc spent 5 minutes on you or your child? No, it was probably over 30, but you did not see the time ordering tests, reviewing test results, reviewing dictations, writing a letter to the insurance company or filling out forms you need for work or school, and doing a few other things…. I want to talk more with the patients, but with loans and other bills, I can’t afford to take even more of a pay cut.”
That brings us to the real problem – The electronification of the medical record was supposed to make the system more efficient. It seems to be doing the reverse. The doctors are forced to enter all the records into electronic systems which takes up a huge lot of their time, slowing the doctors down and eventually leading to inefficiency.
The electronic records are useful if these are going to be used by other doctors. It helps speedier access to the patient information. However, let us say, only 5% of these records are change hand between doctors we are investing in the inefficiency in the 95% of the electronic records that are never going to be exchanged between doctors.
Is there a solution ? I can think of one. The instrument that records the patients’ physiological parameters should upload the data AUTOMATICALLY, without the intervention of the doctor. Let us say we have a Blood pressure monitor that records patient data. The doctor or the nurse should use thumb scan to record the patients identity just before taking his reading. The patients BP data gets uploaded to the server – no hassle no record keeping required by doctor or nurse.
Of course, the doctor still needs to enter his observations and there going by the comment of the doctor the solution is not going to be simple or straightforward.