A day in the life of a doctor isn't what people expect

Doc time

When researchers took the time to observe what really keeps doctors busy during the day, the results were hardly surprising, but certainly disheartening, says pediatrician Roy Benaroch, M.D.

While a child might have once said, "Mommy I want to be a doctor when I grow up." Today, that kid might say,  "Mommy, I want to type and click boxes and fill out forms," writes Benaroch, who practices near Atlanta, Georgia, in a commentary on Medscape

The recent study found half of a physician's day is devoted to the electronic health record (EHR) and other administrative tasks. And that leaves only 27 percent of their time to spend with patients.

Put another way, for every hour physicians spent with patients providing direct clinical face time, they spent nearly two hours on the EHR and desk work within their clinic day. "In the real world, docs spend most of their time doing paperwork and data entry. That's hardly sexy, and not even remotely fun, and--gasp--not really what we were trained to do," says Benaroch.

Doctors are simply overwhelmed by paperwork, as previously reported by FiercePracticeManagement. A survey released this week found more than 20 percent of physicians' time is spent on non-clinical paperwork, which leaves only 14 percent of physicians believing they have time to provide the highest standards of care.