Maybe it’s the paperwork, or maybe it’s all the new techniques and new information about the human body that’s coming out every month. Maybe it has to do with all the juggling that goes on between different specializations, or maybe it’s just something that happens to a high-demand, high-skill industry like health care. Whatever the reasons are, it’s true enough that doctors, psychiatrists, and other physicians throughout the world are feeling overworked. For instance:
3200 resident doctors throughout New Zealand’s hospital system went on a two-day strike recently. The strike was planned out well in advance so that the staff could postpone any elective procedures and the remaining senior doctors took on extra work to make sure all the patients would remain safe, and so the strike was less about forcing the hospital’s hand and more about raising awareness for the doctors’ plight.
The main issue the resident doctors have with their work is with their hours. A normal shift schedule has been two weeks of 12-hour day shifts followed by a week of 12-hour night shifts, and all with only one off-duty weekend in 21 days. Sometimes the hospitals expect residents to work even longer, with daily shifts that often extend up to 15 hours. As a result, these overworked doctors aren’t just dangerous because they’re making mistakes thanks to fatigue, they’re also dangerous on the roads as they fall asleep at the wheel.
Nationalized health care does have its problems, and one of the biggest among them is that when the government cuts its budgets, the hospitals have to follow suit. In Ontario, doctor wages in particular have been the subject of a massive two-year (and counting) battle, with the provincial government refusing to raise its budget for physician payments even as more doctors enter the work force and do more for the aging Canadian population.
Under Ontario’s system, doctors are technically independent contractors who just happen to get all their money from the government. As a result, they get to bill the government for the procedures they perform, but the claims system is so cumbersome that doctors regularly need to hire full-time claims assistants just to keep track of the money flow. But in order to keep a lid on its health care costs, Ontario has been compensating claims for around 95 percent of their actual value, something Canadian doctors are calling a back-end tax on health care professionals.
Here in America, our health care system certainly has its own share of problems, but we also have some solutions. For instance, hospitals and clinics can take on some professional medical scribes who can handle the highly technical aspects of modern medicine, leaving physicians and nurses with more time for patient care and diagnoses. Here at ProScribe, we pride ourselves on providing the most professional scribes anywhere in America so that more doctors can see more patients and enjoy their jobs more often.