News Flash Physicians! Cutting Corners Won't Improve Your Productivity

With the impending Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the horizon, primary care physicians are just waiting for their fate – will they thrive or will they be crushed? The demand of our culture, along with the ACA, is shifting healthcare responsibilities to primary care. It’s inevitable, in order to meet the needs of our culture, primary care physicians have to see more patients. In order to do so, we are going to have to learn to become more efficient, and fast.

A poll conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health reports that 3 out of 5 patients feel as though their doctor is rushing through the exam. This is one way to cut corners.

Some physicians are responding to this shift by increasing their productivity, without much thought or planning. This is reckless and will lead to dissatisfied patients.

I asked 100 physicians in D.C. if they had to cut corners in order to see more patients. Do you know that all, but 1 said they did?!

Larry Shore, a physician in San Francisco says, “When you have that pressure to see three, four, maybe five patients an hour, you can’t wait for the exposition of the patient’s story. Which is exactly what you should do. But you can’t.” Combine this reality with the fact that the number one need of a person is to be heard, the inevitable result is very poor patient satisfaction.

I will argue that cramming our schedule to see more patients will not satisfy our cultures need for quality healthcare. Patients want to be heard and they want to feel as though their doctor cares about their health.

When you choose to stop cutting corners, you will experience a sense of confidence and pride in the quality of care you are providing your patients. Furthermore, you will begin to enjoy practicing medicine again because you are meeting your patient’s needs and no longer going through the motions of providing healthcare to meet quotas. You can go to bed at night knowing that the quality of care you are providing is improving healthcare in America, as a whole.