These top stories explored the computing clerical work that is gobbling up physicians’ days and the intensifying search for better systems.

Clicks and keyboards stealing face time with patients. Almost one-half of the physician workday is now spent on electronic health record (EHR) data entry and other administrative desk work while only 27 percent is spent on direct clinical face time with patients, a time-motion study published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine found. This finding is further proof that administrative burdens are directly affecting the patient-physician relationship. Though efforts are underway to make EHRs more practical for clinical use, there are ways to relieve this burden through team-based care.

Study examines time 1st year medical residents spend on patient records. How much time do your peers really spend dealing with EHRs? One internal medicine program explored that question and tracked the average “mouse miles”–or active time—residents spent using EHRs, and the results were very telling. Find out how many hours residents spent on EHRs in just four months, and see how you compare.

Senators move to make EHRs work better. Electronic health records (EHR) have caused many problems for the patient-physician relationship, and Sen. Bill Cassidy, MD, R-La., definitely has his fair share of troublesome EHR stories. The state of EHRs is tearing the patient-physician relationship apart, Sen. Cassidy said. And that’s why he is taking steps in the U.S. Senate to relieve this burden and put physicians in the driver's seat.

Physicians speak out: How can EHRs be improved? How can EHRs and regulations be designed to positively affect you in your practice? With the meaningful use program reportedly on the cusp of change, physicians gathered in Seattle for a town hall meeting to discuss both the difficulties and benefits of EHRs while also citing ways that they can be improved. Find out what your colleagues on the West Coast had to say.

In EHR age, physicians long to restore medicine’s personal touch. Francis W. Peabody, MD, a physician in the early 20th century, once wrote, “The treatment of a disease must be completely impersonal; the treatment of a patient must be completely personal.” Though physicians vary by specialty and practice type, nearly all practicing doctors have felt the dramatic rise of burdensome administrative work in the last decade. A study investigated the fundamental sources of physician satisfaction and dissatisfaction and how that administrative work fits into a physician’s ability to provide the best care for patients.

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