Saturday, January 28, 2012


We are six months into our wonderful electronic records system. It was touted to help increase our efficiency and to allow ease of patient care. The government even touted it as something that increases access to healthy care as it became so much more efficient.

Here is what we have found so far. It has decreased the numbers patients that can be see in a clinic by 30%. Even with that reduction, the clinic runs an extra hour and half longer. The actual time of patient contact, defined as listening, examining, and answering questions has been decreased by 50%.. We have had to hire 2 new assistants for every three doctors. We are told that it would improve our coding and because of this it would be cost neutral. As of today, it has decreased productivity and only added to overhead for a cost to the practice of 112k per physician.

9% of our staff have quit. Our practice is between 9 and 14% indigent care and 20% Medicaid. We are the only ones in the area that will see Medicaid patients. We have had to cut back so much we just don't have the time to see the amount of patients we did before, much less the ability to provide for those like Medicaid that cost more than we are paid.

On the good side, we are fairing far better than most of the other practices in the area. The biggest primary care group with over 500 docs is on their third system and having more problems than we are. The bad side, if you were counting on Obama-Care you are.. You are de-accessed to the healthcare system.


Michael said...

Steve Jobs, Wired, 1996:

I used to think that technology could help education. I’ve probably spearheaded giving away more computer equipment to schools than anybody else on the planet. But I’ve had to come to the inevitable conclusion that the problem is not one that technology can hope to solve. What’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology. No amount of technology will make a dent.

It’s a political problem. The problems are sociopolitical. The problems are unions. You plot the growth of the NEA [National Education Association] and the dropping of SAT scores, and they’re inversely proportional. The problems are unions in the schools. The problem is bureaucracy.

SeaSpray said...

Hi Throckmorton - I'm sorry yours and other practices have to go through this.

30-50% decrease is major and then increased hrs. Not only costly, frustrating, energy sapping ..but sad ..for you and the patients. :(

I am curious to know why some doctors in the blogasphere like their systems. But certainly ..more docs do not.

Is it mandatory? Because if so ..the government should provide some kind of tax relief for the financial loss while you transition at least. I know you can claim cost/loss, etc ..but should be something in addition to the usual writeoffs.

And losing 9% of your staff ...also high percentage. Yikes! I've seem people leave because they couldn't let go of the old way and were so frustrated/challenged taking on the new things. On the up side people coming on board ..don't miss what was ..but see it all as a new adventure.
I really respect that you've been willing to helm mdcd patients thus far. Yes - there are abusers of the system ..but some truly need the help. Ironically - the politicians who say they are for the people ..seem to be doing everything in their power to insure that they will not get quality care because of all the regulations and hardships they are thrusting upon the physicians and hospitals, etc.

Hopefully our next presidential election will pave the way for a new president that will reverse the damage this new obamacare will cause. Free market to reduce prices seems so logical. Why was there such resistance to that? Unfortunately, the burdensome regulations began way before that was passed. It has been a mess. But ..forcing that bill through without knowing/understanding what was in it and subsequent consequences is beyond all reasoning. I'll never get over the fact they passed something they didn't understand.

I remember WhiteCoat stating that just because you have health insurance - does not mean you will get health care.

I hope all this gets better for you and staff with every passing day.