We’ve all heard how the infamous, impending physician shortage will make efficient delivery of quality care more challenging than ever before. As we’ve told you, those concerns are actually influencing the evolution of urgent care—for example, leading operators to consider greater utilization of advanced-practice providers. Interestingly, a new post on Advisory Board turns the whole issue on its ear by asking the question, “does America have a physician shortage—or are our doctors ‘just bad at managing time’?” If the answer to that question is actually yes, then the logical solution could be a matter of optimizing technologies designed to spur more efficient patients visits and processing. (It’s what the whole EMR industry is built on, after all.) First, let’s acknowledge a fact: The Association of American Medical College predicts a shortfall of 122,000 physicians in relation to the demand for care by the year 2032. Counterpoint: The Advisory Board piece quotes a Medscape article in which the head of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania opines that the threat of a significant physician shortage is “greatly exaggerated.” Even if he’s correct, of course, every practice in every setting—perhaps most notably urgent care, whose success is married to efficient high-quality care—would benefit from optimizing emerging technologies toward more efficient processes. Take a look at your standard operating procedures, including your EMR system, and consider whether you’re getting the most out of what you have.
Is a More Efficient Practice the Answer to the Physician Shortage—Assuming It Exists?