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How Much Time Is Spent on Medical Paperwork?

Studies in the United States have shown that physicians spend as much as one-third of their workday filling out various types of medical paperwork. In the U.S., every hour that a doctor spends with a patient results in 30 to 60 minutes of paperwork. Evidence suggests that the amount of medical paperwork has increased over the years, with one study reporting that physicians spent twice as much time filling out paperwork as their colleagues did 20 years earlier.

More on medical paperwork:

  • Some physicians in the U.S. bill patients for time spent on medical paperwork.

  • Many healthcare practices either hire medical billing specialists to complete insurance paperwork or outsource this work to a third-party service.

  • In one study, resident physicians reported spending as much as six hours per day filling out paperwork — often spending more time filling out forms than actually working with patients.

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More Info: www.nytimes.com, www.economist.com

Discuss this Article

anon293438
Post 5

All this documentation is required by the consuming public via regulatory organizations like The Joint Commission, which inspects, rates, and accredits (or not) hospitals etc.

Consumers cannot accept the fact that someone is going to have a poor outcome from a given treatment so there must be reams of documentation regarding said treatment to "prove" a standard and prudent course was followed so that when the hospital/practitioner is sued they can defend themselves.

anon291074
Post 3

Whatever happened to computers to do the job of recording and processing patients' data?

And what about "save a tree" by eliminating paperwork?

Are they going back to the Dark Ages?

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