Medical Bureaucracy Is A Good Idea Gone Bad

For every bit of paperwork doctors have to fill out and every line of red tape they need to jump over, someone somewhere was trying to make sure patients get the best care possible.  Some of it is deciding what the patients’ insurance can and can’t afford based on their coverage and premiums, but even private insurers want the best bang for their buck.

Unfortunately, where bureaucracy is concerned, good intentions have a way of piling up and getting in their own way.  With so many government plans and laws demanding feedback and written records, and with so many private insurers following their lead and asking for even more details, physicians are spending their time and energy digging through paperwork instead of helping their patients.  How much time and energy depends on how the study measures it:

  • 25 percent of medical costs are going towards administration, and the studies showing this are old and probably underrepresent the current problem.
  • Health Affairs says doctors spend an average of two hours each day and collectively spend $15 billion each year on quality control and evaluation paperwork.
  • Internal Medicine found that for every hour spent with patients, physicians spend two hours on paperwork, including those physicians who have switched to electronic health records.

It’s no wonder then that doctors across the United States are searching for any and all methods that can reduce their bureaucratic burden.  Burnout is at an all-time high, and while some will simply serve fewer patients, others are jumping to hospitals and group practices that share the paperwork and a few are looking at concierge medicine as a way to move forward.  The annual fee structure doesn’t get rid of the quality checks, but it does simplify the payment situation.

Another paperwork reducer that’s becoming increasingly popular in recent years is medical scribes.  Scribes are administrative workers trained to understand medical terminology but who haven’t gone through all the years of expensive schooling to earn a medical degree and get a license to practice medicine (or at least not yet; many scribes are med and pre-med students).

By hiring scribes to spend their time filing paperwork with insurers and the government, doctors can spend more of their hours with patients, a fact that helps serve the community and improves the clinic or hospital’s cash flow.  ProScribe offers professional scribes for any practice, and based on our average rates, scribes pay for themselves when they let doctors see just two more patients per day.  Feel free to contact us for more information about our services.