The Patients vs. Paperwork Problem for Doctors

Doctors spent nearly twice as much time doing administrative work as actually seeing patients: 49 percent of their time, versus 27 percent.

Every doctor I know has been complaining about the growing burden of electronic busywork generated by the E.M.R., the electronic medical record. And it’s not just in our imaginations.The hard data have been rolling in now at a steady pace. A recent study in the Annals of Family Medicine used the E.M.R. to examine the work of 142 family medicine physicians over three years. These doctors spent more than half of their time — six hours of their average 11-hour day — on the E.M.R., of which nearl...