Just about every job these days requires at least some interaction with technology, even locum tenens physician jobs. But the extent to which technology is helpful has to be tempered by its effects on those who actually use it. Technology is great, but if worker satisfaction and productivity suffers because of it, perhaps technology has to be reevaluated. This is certainly the case in the medical arena.
A recent study from the Mayo Clinic does not paint a very good picture about technology and the role it plays in physician jobs. The study specifically looked at electronic health records (EHRs) and the systems used to maintain them. As you probably know, EHRs were mandated by the federal government a number of years ago.
In the years since the federal mandate, healthcare providers have been scrambling to come up with computer and network systems that guarantee compliance. The results have been anything but stellar. As the Mayo Clinic study revealed, just 36% of the more than 6,300 doctors interviewed reported being happy with their EHR systems.
Such a small percentage is not acceptable. If doctors are unhappy with their EHR systems, they are more likely to experience stress as a result of using them. If a particular system is especially difficult to use, it can lead to mounting frustration that eventually causes the doctor to simply give up.
Overcoming Bad Technology
The simplest solution for overcoming bad technology is to simply get rid of it. But the problem is not that simple. As previously mentioned, federal law mandates the use of certain kinds of technology for record-keeping, data security, etc. Furthermore, federal and state bureaucracy is one of the primary culprits in bad technology. Simply getting rid of technology will not put an end to bureaucracy.
There are two things we can do to prevent physician jobs from being adversely affected by technology. First is to use technology as little as possible. For example, a doctor’s office must use an EHR system for record-keeping. But the doctors, nurses, and administrative staff who work at that office don’t necessarily have to use smartphone apps to communicate with one another. They can speak face-to-face or call one another.
Common sense dictates that limiting the use of technology will also limit the harm it can cause. So, if doctors are frustrated by technology, it’s best to use it only to the limited extent the law requires. Everything else should be handled on a more personal level.
Time to Address Bureaucracy
The second thing we can do is recognize the bureaucracy of medicine and start working to eliminate it. Rather than just accepting bureaucracy as the way things get done in healthcare, the entire medical community can come together and say that enough is enough.
Eliminating bureaucracy and red tape would do more to improve technology than anything else. Numerous other industries have already demonstrated as such. Take retail for example. Amazon is global retail giant whose electronic systems are unparalleled by anyone else in retail. If they can build a reliable networking system to efficiently run their business, there is no reason healthcare organizations can’t do the same. The difference between them and us is bureaucracy.
In many ways, the healthcare industry is very much behind the times. Unfortunately, we’ve spent so long doing things a specific way that we are unable to quickly adapt to the progress of technology. But it’s not enough to acknowledge the problem. If we want physician jobs to be helped by technology rather than harmed by it, we need to get up to speed and then stay there.