EHRs, Red Tape Eroding Physician Job Satisfaction

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , October 9, 2013

Jay Crosson, MD, AMA's group vice president for professional satisfaction, care delivery and payment, says "‘growing pains' may be an apt analogy but not with respect to physicians."

"In fact what we may be dealing with here is growing pains for the vendors themselves and the nature of the software. I know in my own personal experience as a physician in a medical group with an EHR that as good as they are, they need continual improvement," Crosson says. "We need to help the industry itself get through its growing pains."

Other issues affecting physician satisfaction that were identified in the survey included:

  • Excessive productivity quotas and limitations on the time spent with each patient. The cumulative pressures associated with workload were described as a "treadmill" and as being "relentless," sentiments especially common among primary care physicians.
  • Perceptions of collegiality, fairness, and respect. Within the practices studied, frequent meetings with other doctors and other health professionals fostered greater collegiality and satisfaction.  

Red tape mandates by government and payers also played a role in chilling physician satisfaction, although no single source was blamed. "What physicians did express was the overall burden of rules and regulations from a large number of sources not limited to the government at all and including also those that were imposed by payers and other entities in the healthcare system," Friedberg said.

"It was more of a sense of overload than any one or two specific sources of these rules and regulations."

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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