I have a friend who used to enjoy practicing medicine. He owned his practice, made the difficult transition to an electronic health record (EHR, successfully attested to Meaningful Use, then quit in disgust to run a cash-pay botox clinic. He had not taken a vacation in 12 years.
Further reading: No balance without boundaries for physicians
I hate to see this happen to a fellow physician because it robs patients of an experienced doctor and erases the doctor’s dreams of making a difference in the lives of his patients.
I have a solution that has allowed me to avoid the same mistake and maintain my sanity. What I do is to practice medicine almost the same way I learned in residency 31 years ago.
Of course, I practice 2017 medicine, but deliver it in the same manner in which I was first trained. I am a solo, independent physician and I see about 25 patients a day. I take one morning and one afternoon off per week, don’t work evenings or weekends and I no longer do hospital rounds.
I am able to make a decent living and have been in my location for over 15 years. My husband serves as my office manager and we now own the building which we built 16 years ago. We do our own payroll, billing and office management. We have never purchased an EHR, although we e-prescribe and submit all of our claims electronically.
I hand write my notes while I talk to (and face!) my patients. I don’t copy and paste, use software or a scribe or templates, and I don’t click a mouse 3,000 (or is it 4,000?) times a day. I don’t have an online portal or phone menu, and an actual human answers every phone call at the office. I don’t do a patient-centered medical home because that idea is completely impractical for my situation.
I have smart nurses who can anticipate my needs without relying on annoying morning huddles.
I do not employ medical assistants, because they cannot make the office function as well as my nurses.