I know I’ve said it before, but I absolutely love it when I’m sent articles that talk about the collision between work and life. This is one such article. One of the collision areas is medical care, because for most people, the medical care is provided via an employer through an employee insurance plan. That’s why it’s a continuing subject of this business and life oriented blog. Generally speaking employer provided medical care system is a mess that has deeply historical roots. I promise you if you were were to get any entrepreneur out there to be honest, they would scream their heads off about the insanity of having to provide insurance when they just want to make their %$%!@ widget. I’ve heard unfiltered entrepreneur’s say things like “I pay you money, if you want healthcare go get it with that money”.
Anyway, back to the article. It’s about the paperwork that doctors have to deal with. The article cites four reasons why paperwork is going through the roof for actual physicians. In my research i’m finding two are spot on, two, maybe are more of a macguffin for the article. The four points are below.
- There are now so many people involved in a doctor’s practice beyond the doctor himself or herself.
This is absolutely spot on. As the systems get more and more complicated, specifically as it relates to insurance and litigation (and all the CYA involved in it) the necessity of the paper trail extends. I’ve witnessed it first hand a few times in my life and it’s very disturbing to me. It’s bloated bureaucracy run amuck. You would think that information technology would drive the time out of this, but from what I can tell from my admittedly highly peripheral view of the industry, that’s not the case.
The best medical service i’ve ever received was from a local holistic farm based chiropractor. It was just the doc and nobody else. The doctor didn’t fix the problem, but then again, the multiple, highly expensive specialists and their large staff I paid for this problem didn’t fix it either. These more traditional practitioners provided extremely poor service and charged me thousands of dollars beyond my insurance coverage to do it.
Secondly, doctors are not designing much of the paperwork.
This is a bit of a maguffin to me. Of course they aren’t designing the paperwork. It’s not for their benefit, it’s not for the patient’s benefit. For that you just need notes. Nope, this is, directly or indirectly, all about the insurance company.. And since the insurance company pays the bills and holds the money, they get to say how the paperwork is designed. (Hint: It’ll always be designed for their benefits)
The third problem is that many doctors are not getting any help to do the paperwork because of no administrative support.
Ok, this one drives me insane, because this is big business not looking at the total cost. Doctors make roughly $100/hour for their services. Even highly paid admin’s only make $25/hr. I won’t write a novel, i’ll simply say, how much do you want to pay per hour to get paperwork done? Oh, and let’s not forget that the Admin’s time isn’t billable, but the doctor’s is, at many multiples of their salary.
Finally, the system is not changing to accommodate doctors.
Of course it’s not. A system is not about accommodation, a bureaucratic system is generally about maintaining its own inertia. In other words to the lawyer’s, large medical company management, and insurance companies, they all need this. And the little pee-on service providers (yes, I find it hard to wrap my head around the fact that someone making over 200K a year is considered a pee-on in some industries) don’t matter as much as the collective needs of everyone else in the chain.
The article is pretty good and in the end, if you wonder why your doctor spends so little time in the room with you when you spend so much time in the office waiting, well this is the reason why. Hey, at least you have really cool blogs to read while you are waiting, and who knows, maybe you can listen to a podcast on your phone if you’re stuck there extra long.