Monday, April 7, 2014

Primary Care Doctors Burning Out

The 3/31/2014 Washington Post (in conjunction with Kaiser Health News), reported on the growing burn-out problem with primary care doctors.

A few key quotes from the article:

* "Perhaps the single greatest source of frustration for many physicians is a tool that was supposed to make their lives easier: electronic medical records."

* "[N]early half of more than 7,200 doctors responding to a survey published in 2012 by the Mayo Clinic reported at least one symptom of burnout. That’s up from 10 years ago, when a quarter of doctors reported burnout symptoms in another survey."

* "[O]ne of the drivers of physician dissatisfaction is their sense that they are shortchanging patients: that they are too rushed, don’t have time to listen and aren’t always providing good care."

I'm very glad that more people are recognizing the hazards of government-mandated electronic medical records (EMRs) -- for both doctors and for patients.

(For more on the hazards EMRs pose for patients, see my recent Forbes piece, "Can You Trust What's In Your Electronic Medical Record?")

The article also notes that burnt-out doctors provide lower quality care for their patients.  In contrast, Dr. Martin Kanovsky noted that when he switched to a "concierge" practice model, he was happier -- and so were his patients.

For more details, read the full text of the Washington Post piece, "A growing number of primary-care doctors are burning out. How does this affect patients?" (The story is also mirrored on the Kaiser Health News site under the title, "Burnt Out Primary Care Docs Are Voting With Their Feet".)