If People Were EMRs, We’d Be Doing A Whole Lot Better

If People Were EMRs, We’d Be Doing A Whole Lot Better

The Journal of General Internal Medicine has confirmed what we’ve been saying all along: Doctors spend more time with computers than they do with patients. Their new study lays out the cold hard fact that face time is down, and hours spent working on computers handily beat out patients. Here are the highlights from the research. Try not to twist your neck while you’re shaking your head.

  • Medical interns spent 40 percent of their day with a computer compared with 12 percent of their day with actual living, breathing patients.
  • In similar studies from 10–15 years ago, doctors clocked in about 20 percent of their time with patients.

So how did we arrive at this point? Slate proposes that technology might be the de facto reason, but not the culprit. Their thinking is that doctors are spending more and more time working inside EMRs–virtually serving their patients–because of poor implementation. That’s a sentiment we’ve been iterating over and over again. Perhaps this poor implementation is caused by government incentives that pay you for “using” the equipment, not necessarily using the equipment in cost-saving, time-saving manner that increases face-to-face time with patients, and improves the quality of healthcare.

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