The Position Paper 9/1/17

Welcome to The Position Paper! The Position Paper is my series featuring my quick take on a particular topic to help you manage your position. I will often feature one outside article as well that will allow you to dig in deeper if you desire. Read this while you drink your coffee in the morning and start your day off right!

Today’s Position: Professional Position

Featured Article: Improving Physician Satisfaction By Eliminating Unnecessary Practice Burdens hosted by KevinMD

My Take


Dr. Yul Ejnes of the American College of Physicians (ACP) penned a home run with this guest post on KevinMD. Doctors everywhere have long lamented the mounting non-clinical activities that take up our day. We are finally starting to see some real movement to rein in all of this workload so doctors can focus more on patient care.

The ACP has a broader initiative, Patients Before Paperwork, which serves as its national campaign to support this topic. In this article, Dr. Ejnes discusses the growing burden of physician signature requirement and the absurdity associated with it. Any doctor that has checked their inbox can see the vast numbers of signatures required for items ranging from wheelchairs to diapers.

Dr. Ejnes eloquently discusses the intended role that insurance companies want doctors to play (medical fraud detectives) compared with the reality of completing all these forms while still providing high quality patient care. Physicians do not want or need to spend their time policing the contract between patients and insurance companies.

Up to this point, physicians have tolerated this exercise in the name of patient care. No doctor wants to see their incontinent patient go without diapers or their patient with history of stroke go without their wheelchair. We are here to help our patients, so that is what we have done.

The sheer volume of incoming fire, though, has triggered a tipping point where the time required to complete these tasks threatens our day to day ability to actually care for patients. We are willing to bend to provide our patients what they need. We are not willing to compromise the patient care we provide.

I am very hopeful that these type of national initiatives will spark real change in the insurance industry and, in turn, physicians’ day to day lives. Physician organizations will likely have to lead the way, as they are the only groups with the size necessary to interface directly with insurance companies.

Throughout our dialogue, we need to keep the patient at the forefront of our discussion. A signature may seem like a simple thing, but continued erosion of physicians’ time to focus on patient care will never have my endorsement.


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