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Computer work leaves doctors with less time for patients
May 2, 2017, 5:44 pm

Physicians are spending more time on their computers feeding in paperwork that they have less time to spend on patients, reports a new study.

The study, based on the daily habits of over 500 doctors in the United States between 2011 and 2014, showed that on average the doctors clocked about three hours with patients and around the same time on their computers filing in reports.

The study found that during the four-year period, doctors saw nearly 638,000 patients face-to-face at least once. The physicians devoted 3.08 hours a day to face-to-face office visits (average 15 minutes each) and 3.17 hours to ‘desktop’ work.

Much of the desktop work was patient-related, including prescription refills, medical orders, sending messages to patients, and writing notes about patients in their files. These progress notes alone accounted for an average of two hours a day.

The researchers admitted that their study was incomplete and that it did not look at the quality of care provided to patients or their levels of satisfaction with their physicians. They said their study findings only reflect the complex system in which "individual insurers do constant battle with providers over reimbursement." The only solution, they said, is to "get the profit motive out of the middle of our health care system."



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