In what’s become an annual tradition, healthcare magazine Medical Economics compiles a list of the top challenges physicians will face in the upcoming year. Recently, administrative burdens, payment challenges, and EMR usability frustrations dominate these lists. 2020’s list is no different.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, very few of these top challenges relate to the work of actually treating patients — the reason most physicians entered the profession to begin with. This disconnect between a doctor’s perceived purpose and the work they end up doing is a crucial driver of physician burnout, which is taking a dramatic toll on the healthcare industry.
Primary care physicians (PCPs) feel this increased administrative pressure more than most other specialists. A 2018 article outlined how these onerous regulatory requirements impact the average doctor.
One of the most frustrating tasks PCPs face is preauthorization requirements from a patient’s insurance company, which forces doctors to fill out endless reams of paperwork. But the frustrations don’t end there. In many cases, payers require a specialist order before approving diagnostic tests. However, specialists often want to see test results before seeing a patient. This arrangement creates a frustrating Catch-22, with PCPs stuck squarely in the middle.
Even perfectly completed paperwork is no guarantee. Providers are often frustrated to discover that paperwork they’ve submitted has been lost or never processed on the administrative end. These mistakes force physicians to repeat the submission process a second or even third time.
To cap off this administrative frustration, patient records have become a cumbersome tool designed to prevent malpractice litigation, rather than documenting and communicating patient care.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the unending paperwork requirements force many PCPs to spend large portions of their off-time catching up on documentation. This added workload leads to severe work/life imbalances, which further contributes to physician burnout.
There’s no reason physicians should handle these administrative tasks by themselves. By adding a qualified medical scribe to their care team, doctors gain a valuable teammate who alleviates many of the non-clinical obligations that place so much strain on providers.
A scribe’s primary duty is to navigate and optimize the EHR while recording the patient encounter in real-time. Scribes ensure that every chart entry is accurate and relevant. Free from the requirements of chart entry, providers can instead focus their attention on where it matters most — their patients.
That additional administrative support also reduces the amount of so-called pajama time physicians spend catching up on patient records. When doctors can instead spend their time treating patients, and then go home to rest and recharge, they can return to work with a newfound sense of energy and focus.
The right medical scribe can become a critical component of your care team. Working together, you can build customized workflows to attack and improve your most frustrating administrative headaches. All this allows physicians to focus on the essential tasks in front of them while delegating other important duties to people who are entirely focused on accomplishing them.
If you’d like more information about how a qualified scribe could help you reduce your administrative burdens, we’d love to talk. You can contact us by phone at (503) 914-5847 or by filling out the form on our website.
A physician’s job is challenging enough. Administrative requirements shouldn’t make it that much harder. Let’s work together to find the perfect solution for your practice.