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    Physicians leaving profession over EHRs

     

    Ramin Javahery, MD, chief of adult and pediatric neurosurgery at Long Beach Memorial, Long Beach, California, says there are obvious financial pressures that drive people out of private practice into a larger corporate structure, but the changes in the workplace brought about by EHRs are also driving older doctors to retire rather than deal with the costs or increased work required.

    “Younger physicians who are comfortable with typing, computers and the truncated patient interactions generated by EHRs do not resist its presence,” he says. “Older physicians, however, are more likely to lack those comforts. When faced with a less comfortable work environment, they choose to retire, especially since many have saved enough to be comfortable financially.”

     

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    Kevin Gebke, MD, a family and sports medicine practitioner at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, says the issue is not fear, rather it’s a matter of dramatic workflow change.

    “EHRs were not designed by practicing clinicians and are not intuitive regarding the different processes that take place during a patient encounter,” he says. “Physicians must often choose between communicating with the patient and navigating within the records to enter or view relevant data. That can fragment care during a patient visit.”

    His experience with EHRs is it has slowed down his workflow, causing a significant decrease in productivity.

    “Spread this decreased capacity to see patients across the country and we then have a magnified shortage of primary care providers,” Gebke says.

    Next: Things are improving

    Keith Loria
    Keith Loria is a contributing writer to Medical Economics.

    3 Comments

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    • [email protected]
      I am an older ( 60 ) FP doc who is comfortable with computers, and I can type fast ( took 2 years of typing class in high school, which has come in quite handy over the years ). I also work ER where we have an EHR, and our office was still paper and dictation/transcription. I can see an acute otitis externa in the office in less than 5 minutes; in the ER I timed it at just under 15 minutes from the time I opened the chart to when I signed off electronically. It only gets worse, from an efficiency standpoint, on more complex patients. I completely agree that the systems were designed by non-clinicians, and optimized for coding and data capture, not patient care. Much of what I do on the EHR could be done by someone with a high school education. Physicians should be taking care of patients, not electronics!
    • [email protected]
      The only way to optimize the EHR is to disintermediate care, especially primary care. All EHRs do today is feed the data beast and maximize profits for hospitals, health systems and PBMs. Algorithms derived from big data are destroying our healthcare system. In fact, we don't have a healthcare system, we have a sickcare system.
    • Anonymous
      EHR optimization phase? Don't make me laugh! I await a single comment from a physician who feels their EHR has been, or is being, optimized, for anything other than population health and/or corporate profits

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