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September 12, 2017 News 3 Comments

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A new study confirms what most physicians (no matter the care setting) already know – technology is increasingly taking time away from patient care and contributing to physician burnout. Conducted over a three-year period, the retrospective study looked at the movements of 142 PCPs within the University of Wisconsin health system to find that they spent six hours – over half of their work day – in their Epic EHRs on a daily basis. Nearly 90 minutes of that documentation time was after hours. The physicians reported that the EHR work included billing and coding, documentation, order entry, and system security.


Interestingly, most of the physicians turned down offers of transcription services or voice-recognition software during a six-week observation period. Their reticence to try out new support tools seems to reinforce the fact that they don’t have the time to fit anything else into their workflows.

HIStalk Practice Announcements and Requests


HIStalk sponsors, submit your MGMA details for inclusion in our annual must-see vendor’s guide. Companies that are walking the show floor instead of exhibiting are also welcome to submit their information. The online guide will publish a few days before the conference kicks off in Anaheim, CA on October 8.


September 13 (Wednesday) 1:30 ET. “How Data Democratization Drives Enterprise-wide Clinical Process Improvement.” Sponsored by: LogicStream Health. Presenter: Katy Jones, program director of clinical support, Providence Health & Services. Providence is demonstrating positive measurable results in quality, outcomes, and efficiency by implementing clinical process improvement solutions in arming operational and clinical stakeholders with unlocked EHR data. Providence’s army of process engineers use their self-service access to answer questions immediately and gain an understanding of how their clinical care delivery is impacting outcomes. The presenter will describe practical applications that include antibiotic stewardship, hospital-acquired infections, and comprehensive knowledge management.

September 28 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Leverage the Psychology of Waiting to Boost Patient Satisfaction.” Sponsored by: DocuTap. Presenter: Mike Burke, founder and CEO, Clockwise.MD. Did you know that the experience of waiting is determined less by the overall length of the wait and more by the patient’s perception of the wait? In the world of on-demand healthcare where waiting is generally expected, giving patients more ways to control their wait time can be an effective way to attract new customers—and keep them. In this webinar, attendees will learn how to increase patient satisfaction by giving patients control over their own waiting process. (Hint: it’s not as scary as it sounds!)

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.

Announcements and Implementations


MetroCare Services (TX) will implement Netsmart’s EHR as part of a broader partnership that will see the behavioral healthcare provider eventually implement additional Netsmart technology across its 16 locations. Netsmart’s developers will work with MetroCare’s XenatiX software division on the ongoing deployment.


Avanti Anesthesia, which provides anesthesia services to eye surgery centers in the Houston area, selects Plexus TG’s Anesthesia Touch EHR.


Machine-learning company Macro-Eyes Health develops a predictive patient scheduling tool that uses AI to match up a patient’s preferred time with a physician’s availability.



PhyMed Healthcare Group appoints Marty Bonick (Community Health Systems) CEO.



Chicago-based EazyScripts makes its telemedicine-friendly e-prescribing software available for free to providers caring for patients in areas impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The State of California bans the delivery of medical marijuana by drone, leaving patients to receive their deliveries by mail or human-driven car. It’s a move that will likely deflate the delivery aspirations of some California-based medical marijuana telemedicine companies like Eaze and Meadow MD. Luckily for those patients who experience the side-effect of hunger pangs, California does permit drone delivery of pizza.

Third-party benefits company Cypress Benefit Administrators offers its employer customers telemedicine services from Teladoc.

Government and Politics

As with Hurricane Harvey, CMS issues a waiver ensuring that licensed out-of-state physicians will receive Medicare reimbursements for providing care in Irma-impacted areas of Florida.

Research and Innovation


An MGMA survey of 876 physicians finds that there is still room for improvement when it comes to the Electronic Funds Transfer standard developed by CMS in 2012. Seventeen percent of respondents pay a 2-5 percent fee to receive digital payments from payers, with the majority interacting with a third-party payment vendor. MGMA analysts have called for CMS to issue more specific operating rules around the transparency of such fees.



Providers in Maine head to Florida to help with post-Irma healthcare efforts. Traveling as part of the federal government’s National Disaster Medical System, the dozen include physicians, PAs, RNs, pharmacists, and technicians who expect to stay in the Sunshine State for between 14 and 30 days. Some, like ER nurse Nate Contreras, have just returned from relief efforts in Texas. “We were there for 10 days,” he says. “Yah, we’re tired, but we’re ready to go again. This is what we do.”  HHS is continually looking for providers to join the disaster relief effort. You can find more information about the NDMS here.


Google will match donations for Hurricane Irma relief efforts. It will funnel the money to Network for Good, which will then evenly distribute it to Catholic Relief Services, UNICEF, and the American Red Cross.


Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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Comments 3
  • OOPS ….. I think you may have missed the undertones of the study …. the drs. are unwilling to give up control … it is partially their own fault …. it’s a trust/control issue … it is also the supporting staffs fault that’s a perceive competency issue … we should open this up to more conversations/debates

  • Re: “A new study confirms what most physicians……”

    Unless I missed it, the study fails to compare the amount of time spent doing the tasks now done in the EHR, before the EHR. Before there were electronic messages, there were paper charts with notes paper clipped to them. And phone calls to be returned. And visit notes and letters to be dictated. And test results to review. Physicians routinely had stacks of charts to attend to at the end of the day, or taken home to finish in the evenings. Because those things are now done in the EHR, it doesn’t reduce the volume of those tasks – it just changes the format.

    It’s true that using the EHR requires the physician to do data entry where in the past the data entry was outsourced to others (like nurses and transcriptionists). There are way to utilize nurses and scribes (who used to be transcriptionists) to outsource the EHR data entry workload – the same way that docs used to do before EHRs.

    EHRs are an easy mark to be blamed for everything – including physician burnout. My perspective is that before that blame can be justified, we do an apples to apples study. If it turns out (as I think it will) that the administrative side of healthcare is onerous, then instead of blaming EHRs, we should can blame the administrative burden.

  • I think the answer to all EHR use and the conversation over hindrance/benefit is 100% attributed to age and comfort level with technology.

    Doctors coming out of med school today will never use a paper based system. It is far more efficient for younger users to enter information into a computer, pull out meaningful metrics, and have access where ever you are to an endless supply as health data than to be anchored to paper charts. The only issue with the current state of EHRs is that they have been poorly developed to meet the advancements with technology today.

    I mean facebook is more technologically advanced than most EHR systems out there. Which is sad…..

    Ultimately electronic systems will be far more welcomed into the exam room by doctors of a younger generation who don’t fight the use of EHRs, than paper ever would be. It is going to take this generation of doctors to not only welcome electronic systems into the office, but to help guide from a clinical perspective how to better set them up.

    Let’s be serious, name a single other industry where the majority of all of the information collected is still held on paper. Healthcare is behind the times, and the fight over whether an EHR is good or bad is only slowing the progress to making EHRs actually be built for a doctor in a live clinical setting.

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