Let Us Be Doctors, Not Documentors

Bye Bye Negative Thought #9

“I’m so far behind that I’m just CallING in sick to catch up!”

Have you done this?

Buried under a mountain of charts or paperwork that you alter your schedule and life to “catch up?”

Do you stay up after kids go to bed?

Go to the office early or on weekends?

Do you think, “God, I just want to stay caught up for once!!!???!!”

I’ll admit it…I’ve been there. Most weekends when I knew no one would be in the office, I would let myself in through the side door and worked like a mad woman for hours trying just to catch up.

That way on Monday morning, I could start without the weight of unfinished charts staring down on me. I would think, “I got to get this done so I’m not behind.”

Countless hours where spent (uncompensated, by the way) doing the work that just couldn’t get done during the work day because there was just not enough hours to take care of patients well AND document.

Well, sister in medicine…being behind on notes is NOT a personal character fault. You are not broken or inadequate! You are trapped in a system that is broken.

I believe that is absolutely unethical and unacceptable for this practice to continue. So I’m saying BYE BYE unrealistic expectations (and hoping you will too).

Instead of being told, “If you don’t get your notes done, you will be suspended,” groups/organizations should be supporting their physicians, unburdening them from non-clinical tasks and allowing them to do what we do best….BE A DOCTOR.

And that is EXACTLY what the research is saying too!

Recently, I gave a presentation at the Indiana Osteopathic Association’s Winter Conference in Indianapolis with my talk titled “Factors to Improve Physicians Lives” that was based on hearing Dr. Lotte N. Dyrbye, one of the nation’s leader in physician wellbeing, present at the Coalition for Physician Wellbeing 2018 Conference.

After doing research, here’s partially what I presented and what I gathered from Dr. Dyrbye and others work…

EXTERNAL National Factors to Improve Physician Lives

  1. Documentation Burden

    • In re to the clinical encounter: MUST be reduced and streamlined. (Billing requirements, quality reporting, test justification

    • In re to “Doctor-only” task MUST have clarity regarding which tasks are doctor essential

  2. EHR

    • In re to workflow: MUST be thoroughly vetted with all levels (especially physicians)

    • MUST evaluated for workforce implications PRIOR to their launch.

    • Because guess what…retrospective research shows Doctors weren’t just whining when EHRs were launched. Retrospectively, we were massively understaffed for the increased load burden that came

  3. Insurers

    • MUST be eliminated payers requirements to perform and document unnecessary elements of care to justify billing codes BUT THAT DO NOT contribute to good medical care

    • MUST develop a more efficient preapproval process for tests, medications, and procedures for patients

  4. MOC requirements

    • MUST better integrated with standard CME requirements, work to decrease burden and change the pay structure

    • (personally I would like to see MOC go all together)

  5. State licensing boards

    • MUST eliminate questions on licensing applications regarding diagnosis or treatment for mental health conditions

    • Consider a National Clearinghouse

  6. National organizations (ie The National Institutes of Health)

    • MUST become involved and allocate funds to support research evaluating the implications of clinician well-being for the care delivery system and determining how to improve the work-life of health care professionals.

I have much more to this presentation (but this is getting long)!

If you haven’t seen this NAM Discussion Paper yet, I highly encourage you to check it out HERE: Burnout Among Health Care Professionals: A Call to Explore and Address This Underrecognized Threat to Safe, High-Quality Care. You can get this and more information. It was my go to source for my talk.

So, all in all friend, KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT! Awareness is starting to come forth that the burdens we have been shouldering is ungodly. Change is coming and I going to keep pushing.

If you help some help with what you are struggling with, book a free NO SLEEZE-NO SLIME-NO SELLING colleague-to-colleague call with me today HERE. Because sometimes it helps to have a fellow colleague who understands!