There is always a bustle in hospitals, as patients come and go, while doctors and nurses have to take them in. However, treating patients is not the only task assigned to physicians. Working in a hospital also implies a lot of administrative work which has to be done in due time.
A new study reveals that physicians also have their share of administrative work. According to the recent research, they spend almost half of their time doing paperwork and administrative tasks. A simple deduction leads us to the conclusion that less than half of their time in a hospital is actually dedicated to treating patients.
The research is based on the timetable of fifty-seven doctors. They were monitored for a specified period. Some of them also agreed on handing in a report on their activity. This sort of work-diary was held by some of the participants for a month, from July to August, last year.
Physicians themselves complain about the large amount of paperwork they are asked to do. The study showed that while consulting a patient, thirty-seven of the doctors’ time is dedicated to the patient. As far as the other fifty-three percent is concerned, doctors are working on their computers and registering certain data.
Doctors are aware that their time with patients has been reducing. It has been happening since electronic health records were introduced. These systems keep track of the number of patients who come and go in a hospital, as well as details on their health status, and medical history. One of the advantages of EHRs is that they allow institutions to share and exchange this type of information.
One the other hand, the great disadvantage of EHRs is that they are time-consuming. The issue is even worst because they consume the time that physicians should be spending with their patients, analyzing their symptoms, prescribing treatment, and checking for improvement. Patients also tend to feel more confident when they talk to doctors than nurses.
The American Medical Association funded this new research. It is also one of the few reviews on how doctors spend their time at work. People who work in hospitals are pleased that the authors of the study had this initiative. They hope that things will be different someday and that their exclusive concern will be patients.
The new study was published in Annals of Medicine on September 6.
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