I’ve been struggling to get through the Meaningful Use Stage 3 proposed rule, but finally reached the end. I’m not sure how much of it I’ve retained, although I did take good notes.
I also skimmed the certification document to get an idea of new things my vendors may be offering. A couple of them struck me as interesting additions: the family health history pedigree; expanded social, psychological, and behavioral data; and consolidated care plans. CIO John Halamka, MD and Micky Tripathi posted an excellent analysis last week that should be required reading for all hospital and software vendor executives.
My favorite section of their write-up (appropriately subtitled “The Ugly”) encapsulates my frustration as a primary care physician:
If a clinician has 12 minutes to see a patient, be empathetic, document the entire visit with sufficient granularity to justify an ICD-10 code, achieve 140 quality measures, never commit malpractice, and broadly communicate among the care team, it’s not clear how the provider has time to perform a “clinical information reconciliation” that includes not only medications and allergies, but also problem lists 80 percent of the time. Maybe we need to reduce patient volumes to 10 per day? Maybe we need more scribes or team-based care? And who is going to pay for all that increased effort in an era with declining reimbursements / payment reform?
Most of my primary care peers could deliver truly excellent care if I we only saw 10 patients per day. However, primary care physicians in my organization are expected to perform at a certain percentile based on MGMA data. The majority are seeing 30-35 patients daily, yet revenues are still declining. They’re also working longer hours with increased burnout. One of my favorite colleagues just “retired” from practice at the tender age of 48 and will be doing part-time urgent care instead.
I’m grateful to those who actually selected primary care residencies during the recent National Resident Matching Program process. Over 1,400 fourth-year US medical students selected family medicine and I salute them. To consciously choose this life given current market forces, you are either called to serve or you are a risk-taker. Fortunately, we can benefit from having more of both in the trenches. There were a total of 3,195 positions available and graduates of non-US medical schools will typically fill the remaining slots.
I mentioned last week that I had received some pre-HIMSS mailings with butchered addresses and titles. Not to be biased in reporting only questionable print media, I’ll share that this week I received three emails that fell into the category. When preparing mass communications, first make sure you’re selecting the right field for the last name. I guarantee my real name is not “Dr. O’Day,” so I didn’t read your piece. Second, “Dear Chief Nursing Executive” isn’t going to make CMIOs want to continue reading. Third, don’t call out my mostly-inactive consulting company as needing your services because my “organization is …read more