The reason for the scary numbers isn’t what you would think: Most doctors say it’s the level of paperwork and data input they’ve had to do since medical records went digital. Doctors end up spending about 45 minutes per patient visit on tasks like “inputting data codes for the visit,” Nazario says, leaving little face-to-face time with patients.
“[Doctors] are spending an enormous amount of time taking in data during physician-patient visits,” she says. “I know during my last visit for my physician, I think the doctor spent no more than two minutes looking at me. They were looking at a computer screen.”
The result is scary: “I dread coming to work,” one neurologist says in the report.
…Though most doctors say the depression doesn’t affect their patient care, 35 percent say they find themselves getting exasperated with their patients, and 14 percent say they make errors they wouldn’t normally make.
Nazario says that while burnout is common among workers, for doctors, it can seem worse because all the schooling and training they’ve undergone can feel like a waste when most of their day is spent typing codes into their medical software.
“It’s almost like being a cog in a wheel, where they’re going through the motions of what’s necessary, not necessarily using all the knowledge that she or he has gained in the years of training,” Nazario says.
The health care system reform we need may not be the one we keep talking about….