Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Face Time

Most accountants don't photo copy tax returns.  They don't stuff envelopes.  They rarely waste time sitting at the front desk answering phones like a secretary.  Most lawyers don't do the office faxing.  You rarely see them sweeping the floor or cleaning the company bathroom.  I guarantee the CEO of United Healthcare doesn't make cold calls to sell insurance.

The reasons are simple and self explanatory.  You don't waste the time of the most educated and valued assets of the company doing busy work.  Accountants account.  Lawyers lawyer.  And CEO's do something important although I'm at a loss to describe exactly what!  Most non revenue generating activities are pawned off on less trained, less well paid employees.

These are the facts of running a successful business.

And like other entrepreneurs, physicians have traditionally followed the same coarse.  Go back a few decades, and physicians spent the majority of their day doctoring.  They didn't waste time on extensive charting-they scribbled a few illegible lines.  They didn't eprescribe or fill out face to face encounters, the girl (or guy) at the front desk did the more mundane activities. 

Paperwork was scant.  Distractions were minimal.  Medicine was practiced.

In steps the government.  Starting with the enactment of medicare and ending with the new meaningful use criteria, the landscape has drastically changed.  Face time between physician and patient is dwindling.  Instead we stare down the barrel of countless forms or sit mesmerized in front of computer screens.

For every patient encounter there is an everproliferating mass of physician specific clerical work.  Admission med reconciliation, discharge med reconciliation, Face to Face encounter, discharge instructions, med authorization, radiology utilization, eprescribe, auto fax.  Need I say more?

We have become highly trained, poorly paid secretaries. 

If you are sitting in your physicians waiting room and a fellow patient falls down in front of you having a cardiac arrest, run quickly through the doors.  Bypass the exam rooms because your doctor won't be there.  Most likely he'll be sitting in his office,

filling out some dumb form.

2 comments:

Mark C said...

So very true. In fact, I have to go now to complete my 40 page medical staff reappointment application that came in the mail yesterday... the same one I completed last year.

Doc Nieder said...

It's amazing. I keep thinking it can't get worse. I am SO WRONG--it just keeps getting worse!