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.