Doctors and Data


No one will argue the need for precise and accurate medical records. Doctors, surgeons, clinics, and hospitals need to be able to access patient data quickly and easily in order to effectively treat patients. However, the EHR process in many hospitals and clinics could use improvement. A recent article in Modern Medicine outlined four steps to improving EHR protocols. In this article, I’d like to go through each and offer my own insight as a practicing surgeon.

Cut Down on Doctors’ Administrative Tasks

Let doctors do what they do best – diagnose and treat patients. Most doctors and surgeons work crazy hours to meet patient needs. Adding hours upon hours of administrative tasks like data entry not only takes away from their time with patients – it can also lead to burnout. Rather than having physicians manually do data entry themselves, they should focus on dictation, which can then be vetted for accuracy. This can speed up the process and improve the overall experience for doctors and patients alike.

Structured vs. Unstructured Data

It’s essential to find a balance between structured data and unstructured data. Structured data is required for certain entries like demographics, vital signs, and medication lists. But many EHRs also require structured formatting far beyond what is required. Having a mix of structured and unstructured data will make work flows more efficient.

Get Rid of Interface Barriers

Interfaces allow EHRs to communicate and work with other systems. However, EHRs often charge hefty fees for these interfaces that then discourage doctors and clinics from utilizing these services. These interfaces should be cost effective and readily available to any system.

Editing & Transcription

Having physicians dictate patient notes is great, but that audio needs to be transcribed and edited to ensure full accuracy. It’s important to have an expert handle these services – whether you outsource them to a third-party transcription company, or handle them in-house.

If you’re looking for practical ways to put these tips into practice, checkout SurgeonMasters for educational tools, webinars, and meetups that offer excellent strategies for burnout prevention and surgeon wellness.


Doctor Alienation

Photo by peepo/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by peepo/iStock / Getty Images

In a recent article, Dr. Melinda Hakim discusses the alienation of American physicians in our current landscape. The system is causing physicians to burnout, face bankruptcy, retire early, or simply choose not to become a doctor or surgeon in the first place. Many of our best and brightest minds from Ivy League schools are simply choosing a different career path. In this article, we will take a look at some of the factors causing these issues, and offer some solutions.

A Shrinking Talent Pool

There is no denying that the talent pool of future physicians is shrinking. Many undergraduate students are looking at the healthcare industry and picking a different career path because they don’t like what they see.

“Of course, we cannot deny that we need to focus on curtailing health care costs,” Dr. Hakim explains in the article. “But we absolutely cannot cut health care at the expense of alienating physicians. Our talent pool is rapidly shrinking.”

Factors that Alienate (Potential) Physicians

Dr. Hakim outlines a few reasons why students who might be interested in pursuing a career in medicine forego medical school for another profession:

  1. Running a successful private practice is becoming more and more difficult due to increased overhead and decreasing reimbursements.

  2. Paperwork takes up more of a doctor’s time than actually caring for patients.

  3. Student loan debt from medical school averages out at roughly $183,000.

  4. When you account for actual hours worked per week, many young doctors earn barely more than minimum wage.

Solving These Issues

So how do we solve these issues and encourage more people to pursue a career in medicine? Here are a few solutions:

  • Compensation is Key. Many young physicians and surgeons work 100+ hours per week. We need to compensate these physicians for their time, as well as their incredible skills and knowledge.

  • Encourage Autonomy. There is a lot of red tape and burdensome regulation in the healthcare industry. Coding requirements, EHR mandates, government reporting regulations, and the like can lead to burnout and prevent physicians from caring for patients.

We need to put these tips into action and convince the next generation of potential physicians that pursuing a career in medicine is worthwhile. If you have other suggestions, email them to