Physicians Spending Too Much Time Behind Their Desks, Not Enough Time With Patients

Do you feel like you’re spending more time at a desk than with your patients? You’re not alone. In a recent study, observers documented how U.S. physicians from four different specialties (family medicine, internal medicine, cardiology, and orthopedics) spent their time. Twenty-one of the study participants also kept after-hours diaries. The results are concerning.

During the office day, the study found physicians spent 27 percent of their total time on direct clinical face time with patients and 49.2 percent of their time on EHR and deskwork activities. Essentially, for every hour physicians provide direct clinical face time to patients, nearly two additional hours are spent on electronic health records (EHRs) and desk work within the clinic day. Outside office hours, physicians spend another one to two hours of personal time each night doing additional computer and other clerical work. It’s no wonder one-third of physicians are experiencing burnout.

“This study reveals what many physicians are feeling–data entry and administrative tasks are cutting into the doctor-patient time that is central to medicine and a primary reason many of us became physicians,” said AMA Immediate Past President Steven Stack. “Unfortunately, these demands are not being reconciled with patient priorities and clinical workflow. Clerical tasks and poorly-designed EHRs have physicians suffering from a growing sense that they are neglecting their patients as they try to keep up with an overload of type-and-click tasks.”

One of the many administrative burdens physicians are faced with is medical billing. It has been especially cumbersome and time-consuming due to the ever-changing policies and regulatory framework. Outsourcing your medical billing to experts in this field will not only save you time, it will improve your cash flow. You should never do anything that you can have someone else do more efficiently and at a lower cost. Your time and energy should be spent with your patients.

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