Internists Say Patient Care Needs to Come Before Paperwork

San Diego, March 30, 2017 -- The American College of Physicians (ACP) convened a panel today to discuss what ACP is doing to reduce the administrative burdens facing physicians in health care and how excessive administrative tasks negatively impact physician wellness and patient care.  The panel took place during a press briefing at ACP’s Internal Medicine Meeting 2017.

Members of the panel were: Nitin S. Damle, MD, MS, MACP, president of ACP; Shari Erickson, ACP's vice president, Governmental Affairs and Medical Practice; and, Susan Thompson Hingle, MD, FACP, chair-elect, Board of Regents, ACP.

Earlier this week ACP released a new policy paper discussing the serious adverse consequences that excessive administrative tasks in health care have for physicians and their patients.  “Putting Patients First by Reducing Administrative Tasks in Healthcare, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Tuesday, presents a framework to analyze administrative tasks and determine whether tasks may need to be challenged, revised or eliminated entirely.

“There are growing number of administrative responsibilities that physicians are subject to, due to regulations, insurer requirements and other factors,” said Nitin S. Damle, MD, MS, MACP, president of ACP.  “These tasks are a diversion of physicians’ and their staff’s time and focus away from more clinically important activities, such as providing actual care to patients and improving quality.”

Dr. Hingle discussed ACP’s efforts on a national level to address the issue of physician burnout and to promote physician wellness and satisfaction. As part of these efforts, ACP has established a Physician Wellness Task Force, charged with examining these issues and how they relate to the issue of putting patients before paperwork.

“Increasing administrative burdens can lead to decreasing satisfaction with practicing medicine for many physicians,” said Dr. Hingle.  “We know that increasing a physician’s professional satisfaction can improve both their personal and professional wellness.  Efforts outlined in our new paper can help physicians gain some control over their practice life.”

About the American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States. ACP members include 148,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.

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