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Physicians leaving profession over EHRs

EHR was supposed to improve patient care and make work easier for physicians. As a solo practitioner, all it has done for me is increase work load and decrease productivity. For every 10 - 15 minute patient encounter, I spend another 4 to 5 minutes on the desktop checking off boxes to meet the impossible government requirements. The increased clerical burden is not only time consuming but mostly non reimbursable. It adds another "hidden" work week.

The biggest problem in forcing EHR and collection of data on to physicians has been the lack of interoperability between different EHRs. Physicians are forced to provide data for value based initiatives when the data is not readily available. Even when it is available it takes hours to sift through it and input it into the EHR.

It comes as no surprise that many physicians are choosing to close offices and give up their freedom and work as employees for corporate hospitals. Big hospital corporations do not save money nor does it improve quality of care. In fact it drives up the cost.

Studies done at Stanford and Mayo clinic have addressed the high burn out rate and started to institute clinical care redesign practices. This may work for physicians employed in academic hospitals. For the average solo/small group practitioner it will not address the question of how to reclaim the joy and purpose of the practice of medicine. This will require major shifts in policy to address a broken system and find creative solutions to improve physician well being.

Until then, we physicians should continue to voice our concerns with national medical associations and health care representatives.,2

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