A recent study by the International Journal of Health Services suggests that the leading cause for low career satisfaction ratings for physicians in the US has nothing to do with the actual work of medical practitioners – but with the administrative work that comes with it. Furthermore, it seems to only be getting worse: The nation’s trending health policies are likely to heap even more burdensome paperwork on doctors, which may lead to further deterioration of their overall career satisfaction.
This study measured the time U.S. physicians spent accomplishing administrative tasks and its correlation to their levels of job satisfaction, based on a survey of nearly 5,000 medical practitioners working 20+ hours a week in direct patient care. Doctors involved in large practices, practices owned by hospitals, and those that have been allocated financial incentives for a reduction of services spent the most time dealing with administration. The increased utilization of modernized electronic medical record systems was also linked to an increase in administrative work. As mentioned above, the results suggest that the more time a physician spends on administration leads to a decrease in career satisfaction – regardless of income or other relevant factors.
The worst thing about this situation is that the effect of doctors being overwhelmed with administrative tasks is often times felt by the patients themselves. The American College of Physicians (ACP) Medical Practice and Quality Committee released a position paper pushing to decrease the amount of administrative work in an attempt to improve service to individual patients and the entire healthcare industry in general. However, even if the amount of administrative tasks are decreased somewhat, they will never completely disappear – and may continue to be a thorn in the side of physicians, affecting the quality of service patients receive. But with the industry mostly shifting to employment in large practices, experiencing further implementation of electronic medical records, and witnessing the rising popularity of financial risk sharing, it seems that nuisance administrative work will only continue to drag doctors down in the foreseeable future – unless they find their own creative solutions to the problem.
Good thing that strategic partnerships exist in order to absorb all of that undesirable administrative work. Contact TukkoMed now and find out how we can help take that burden off of your shoulders and keep you focused on what matters.