On June 12, Dr. Peter Basch published an article on Doctors Helping Doctors Transform Health Care in which he highlights the challenges of clinical documentation as well as a report “Paper Cuts” by the Center for American Progress (in which Dr. Basch was a co-contributor). He highlights a not unexpected but disconcerting estimation that “Physicians in the United States spend an average of 43 minutes per day, or three weeks per year, interacting with health care plans.”
Quoting from Dr. Basch’s blog post:
“Most of us in the EHR visioneering and/or implementation space have been struggling with (or avoiding) the question “does EHR use add time to a doctor’s day?” For those new to the field, one of the key hurdles that an EHR had to pass to gain user acceptance was passing a “documentation challenge.” In these very public challenges (typically held at EHR or medical meetings), someone would play the role of a patient and call out a scripted history, and the audience could see for themselves how EHRs compared against each other, and against scribbling on paper. And for those who never witnessed a documentation challenge — spoiler alert — scribble almost always won.
Learnings from these challenges included:
- EHRs must continue to be refined to make documentation easier and more intuitive;
- Data entry (note writing) is always painful, and never a way to demonstrate benefit of an EHR; and
- Documentation as the driver of physician activity (defining the basis for payment as per the 1995 and 1997 E&M documentation guidelines) is a big part of the problem. It makes documentation difficult on paper; and for EHRs it results in either even ‘clunkier’ documentation or just ugly notes.”
To read the full blog post, click here.