It’s a difficult time to be a physician. After having weathered the worst of the pandemic, doctors are experiencing burnout at record levels. According to the latest Medscape report, burnout levels among all physicians have jumped from 42% to 47%. The number one factor behind burnout is “too many bureaucratic tasks”, which includes charting, paperwork and other EHR-related tasks.
Eliciting the patient’s agenda
Unfortunately, the dreaded EHR can be a wedge that distracts healthcare professionals from giving patients their full attention. In a study originally published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers studied a sample of recorded patient encounters. What they found isn’t all that surprising.
Clinicians elicited the patient’s agenda in just over one-third (36%) of patient encounters. The patient’s agenda was elicited roughly half the time in primary care (49%), but only 20% of the time in specialty care settings. In two out of three encounters, the physician interrupted the patient after just 11 seconds.
What makes a good doctor?
Healthgrades analyzed more than 2 million text comments provided in physician ratings. Among ratings with negative sentiment towards physicians, the number one factor cited is time spent on the office visit. Time spent in the exam room topped wait time and office staff as the most important factors that can lead to a dissatisfied patient.
It’s well understood that communication and listening are crucial skills for physicians. Giving patients the time needed to express their concerns, without interruption, builds confidence and trust.