KevinMD columns in USA Today and the NYT’s Room for Debate

Two of my recent columns were recently published.

The first is in USA Today: Electronic medical records no cure-all yet.  While EMRs are here to stay, they are generally antiquated programs that divert providers’ attention away from patients:

More time in front of computers means less time for patients.

An American Journal of Emergency Medicine study found that emergency physicians spent 43% of their time entering data into a computer, compared with only 28% of their time spent talking to patients. During a typical 10-hour shift, a doctor would click a mouse almost 4,000 times.

Doctors in training have it worse. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that medical interns spent 12% of their time talking to patients, or about eight minutes a day per patient, but more than 40% of their time on a computer filling out electronic paperwork.

Such hurried interactions not only impede medical education for trainees, but also have real world consequences, such as diminishing patient satisfaction and increasing the rate of medication prescriptions.

The second column answers a question posed by the New York Times’ Room for Debate: “Who Should Be Invited to the State of the Union?”

A practicing primary care physician, of course:

By inviting a primary care doctor to the State of the Union, President Obama can signal that he’s willing to make the necessary commitment to rescue the nation’s crumbling primary care foundation. The success of his signature piece of legislation depends on it.

Enjoy the pieces.

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