By Suvas Vajracharya, Ph.D., founder and CEO, Lightning Bolt Solutions.
A staggering 96 percent of physicians are reporting that the amount of time they spend on data input has increased in the last 10 years, and 86 percent agree it’s robbing them of joy in their jobs, according to a recent survey by Geneia, a healthcare data analytics firm.
This report won’t come as news to the millions of physicians spending huge chunks of their days on clerical and administrative work, instead of the patient work for which they’ve studied and practiced many long years.
For healthcare leaders, it’s another indicator that despite a recent dip in physician burnout reported by the American Medical Association, there’s still work to be done. Eighty percent of respondents to Geneia’s survey indicated that they are personally at risk for burnout at some point in their career.
But it also presents an enormous opportunity, as the report reveals reducing data entry can be a crucial (and pretty realistic, given modern technology) step in retaining key physicians, as well as increasing operational accuracy and efficiency. Let’s get physicians away from data entry and back to practicing top of license.
What’s behind increased data entry requirements?
Before we look at solutions to reduce the data entry burden on physicians, it’s critical to know where the demand is coming from. Multiple factors contribute to this problem, including:
The ubiquity of EHR systems
The professed goal of EHR systems was to give physicians access to vital patient data and streamline billing and coding processes. All too often, however, doctors find themselves bogged down by data entry instead of caring for their patients. To save time, many physicians copy and paste clinical documentation from one record to the next, providing more opportunity for dangerous inaccuracies to slip into patient files.
Lack of integration
Healthcare providers today use multiple different systems to coordinate care, and more often than not, those systems don’t talk to each other. Building integrations between these systems takes a lot of time and resources, and it is especially taxing on IT teams already working through huge backlogs. In the meantime, who’s responsible for ensuring the right data goes into all the applicable systems? Overtired physicians who’d rather be doing anything else.