Why doctors on the move need HIT to keep up

Physicians are getting frustrated because some spend 43% of their time in front of computers tapping away to the tune of 4,000 clicks a shift. In the emergency department, I race from bed to bed seeing patients while trying to keep up with clinical documentation. I practice differently today than I did fresh out of med school, and I readily embrace mobile devices, apps and speech recognition to provide some relief and to get more done faster so I can focus on patients. Here are my thoughts on why doctors are on the move and need technology to keep up.

As an emergency department physician, it was no surprise to me when a study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine cited that ED physicians spend 43% of their time entering data into a computer or about 4,000 clicks in a 10-hour shift. It’s a challenge to balance time spent with patients and the mountain of clinical information that needs to be viewed, delivered and shared each shift. We all want delivery of care to be a positive, satisfying experience, but that’s easier said than done.

We’re all hunting for quick fixes, workarounds, apps or shortcuts that can help us get more done, faster. We want to preserve the “Art of Medicine” and deliver compassionate care without the expense of re-living our day at the end of each shift to record every patient we saw, every step taken into clinical documentation in the EHR.

I’ve been practicing for 15 years, and the way we work and care for patients today is different. We like tablets to engage with patients, apps that allow us to search clinical references, we want to speak to devices not type, and we communicate through Facetime, texting and telemedicine. We need mobility and tools that keep up, and a healthcare cloud is a must.

I recently read that healthcare professionals walk twice as many steps a day as other professionals ‒12,138 steps to be exact. I agree with a colleague who recently talked about the value of Nuance’s cloud-based voice recognition who said:

“Physicians have always moved around a lot, the difference is until recently charts were on paper, and no one expected documents to keep up. That’s what has made things more difficult for physicians.” Dr. Ehab Hanna, CMIO of UHS

Doctors who can work the way they want are happier.

How do we want to work? Here’s an infographic that demonstrates some ways we are trying to be productive as we care for patients.

  • 72% of physicians use their smartphone at work
    • Nearly half look up reference drug data
    • More than one-third perform clinical calculations
    • Eight out of ten text other providers
  • 35% are using clinical speech recognition to dictate on mobile devices when given the option

Despite improvements in technology and access to wifi, mobile devices and smartphones, many hospitals still struggle with people fighting for PCs at nursing stations because that’s the tool that gets them to the information they need to find or send. While the EHR is vitally important, there is no one size fits all solution. All I can say is we need HIT to support care and coordination that happens in between trips to the desktop. Real work is happening on mobile devices, in halls, in cars and physicians need HIT to break down those barriers so we can focus on patients.

Let doctors work the way they want to save clicks, time and effort. Let’s get back to practicing the Art of Medicine by combining new innovations with healthcare that was more satisfying.

Doctors on the move need technology that keeps up

Buried in mountains of clinical documentation, doctors are searching for HIT advances like apps and cloud-based dictation solutions that work the way they want while on the go.

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About Dr. Reid Conant

Dr. Reid Conant is a chief medical information officer for Nuance’s Healthcare division. Dr. Conant has provided medical direction and leadership to his hospital through the deployment and optimization of CPOE and physician documentation solutions. Prior to Nuance, Dr. Conant served as the president and founder of Conant and Associates, Inc. which was acquired by Nuance in 2014. For more than eight years, CAI assisted well over 200 organizations, and trained over 10,000 providers on physician documentation solutions. Dr. Conant is an actively practicing board-certified emergency physician and Chief Medical Information Officer of Tri-City Emergency Medical Group in Oceanside, CA. He earned a B.S. in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego and earned an M.D at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.