Freedom (But No Fireworks) for Physicians
Tis the season for celebrating independence. In the world of healthcare, however, it seems there’s less of it all the time – for example, physician practices continue to be acquired by health networks, and studies continue to describe providers who feel they are held hostage to counterproductive EHR systems.
On the technology front, the freedom physicians seek is not the kind accompanied by fireworks. Rather, it is simply the freedom to do their jobs as best they can, supported by systems that lighten their load instead of adding to it. The list of EHR-related impediments typically includes:
- EHR-driven workflow is unfamiliar – It is dictated not by what the physician knows about treating patients and has been doing for years, but rather by the processes that exist deep inside the hospital.
- Training – Hospital EHRs require extensive classroom training that often takes physicians away from their patients for days.
- Process-centric structure – Physicians waste a lot of time clicking around the hospital EHR to find all the information they need about a particular patient.
These and other common EHR characteristics cause many physicians to feel burdened and “shackled” – quite the opposite of the freedom we’re celebrating this week – leaving them working more hours while actually decreasing productivity.
As an industry, we need to make it easier for doctors to do their jobs. An important outcome of that, of course, is to improve the end result: patient care.
When that happens, it will truly be cause for celebration.