Physicians would need 27 hours in one day to get done with their work

In a shocking new study, physicians would need a whopping 27 hours in their day to accomplish all of their tasks.

Primary care physicians were estimated to require 26.7 hours in one day, comprising 14.1 hours per day for preventive care, 7.2 hours per day for chronic disease care, 2.2 hours per day for acute care and 3.2 hours per day for documentation and inbox management. Even with team-based care, primary care physicians were still estimated to require 9.3 hours per day (2.0 hours per day for preventive care and 3.6 hours per day for chronic disease care, 1.1 hours per day for acute care, and 2.6 hours per day for documentation and inbox management).

This is even more shocking when it was revealed that many patients do not receive preventative care. In 2003, Yarnall estimated it would take over 7.4 hours per day for a primary care provider to provide ideal preventive care.

“The recommended guidelines placed on clinicians surpasses what is even physically possible, creating an impossible challenge for our healthcare workforce. This inevitably results in exhaustion, burnout, and attrition within an already strained healthcare environment. However, by leveraging the potential of data science, healthcare providers can aggregate and analyze information to determine the effectiveness of each guideline, empowering clinicians to prioritize their efforts in a way that maximizes patient outcomes,” explains DoorSpace Co-Founder Brian White.

Additionally, for every hour physicians provide direct clinical facetime to patients, nearly two additional hours are spent on EHR and desk work within the clinic day, meaning that doctors are spending more time doing paperwork than they are actually taking care of patients.

The issue of electronic health records (EHR) and desk work further complicates the daily lives of physicians. The fact that for every hour of direct patient care, two additional hours are consumed by paperwork is a clear indication of an inefficient system. Doctors, who are trained to provide care, find themselves mired in administrative tasks that detract from their primary role.

The current healthcare workflow is in dire need of a redesign that refocuses on the central mission of healthcare: patient care. This redesign must tackle the inefficiencies that clog the system, contributing to the burnout and high turnover rates among clinicians. A pivotal aspect of this overhaul involves the streamlining of administrative processes, which currently act as a significant drain on physicians’ time. By simplifying these processes, we can remove unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles that keep healthcare professionals from their primary role in patient care.

The adoption of more efficient Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems is a critical component. Current EHR systems are often cited as a source of frustration for healthcare providers due to their complexity and the time it takes to navigate them. An efficient EHR system should be intuitive, reducing the time spent on documentation and allowing for more seamless access to patient information. This would not only enhance the quality of the time physicians spend with their patients but also improve the accuracy and consistency of medical records.

The combination of high clinician turnover and the unrealistic time demands placed on physicians is placing a heavy strain on the workers in healthcare, as shown in the study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, This solution must embrace technological advancements, optimize care delivery models, and fundamentally realign the healthcare system’s priorities towards effective patient care and clinician well-being. By doing so, there is hope to build a more sustainable, patient-centered healthcare system that can adequately address the needs of both providers and patients.