Navigation Links
Doctors-in-training spend very little time at patient bedside, study finds
Date:4/23/2013

Medical interns spend just 12 percent of their time examining and talking with patients, and more than 40 percent of their time behind a computer, according to a new Johns Hopkins study that closely followed first-year residents at Baltimore's two large academic medical centers. Indeed, the study found, interns spent nearly as much time walking (7 percent) as they did caring for patients at the bedside.

Compared with similar time-tracking studies done before 2003, when hospitals were first required to limit the number of consecutive working hours for trainees, the researchers found that interns since then spend significantly less time in direct contact with patients. Changes to the 2003 rules limited interns to no more than 30 consecutive hours on duty, and further restrictions in 2011 allow them to work only 16 hours in a row.

"One of the most important learning opportunities in residency is direct interaction with patients," says Lauren Block, M.D., M.P.H., a clinical fellow in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of the study published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. "Spending an average of eight minutes a day with each patient just doesn't seem like enough time to me."

"Most of us went into medicine because we love spending time with the patients. Our systems have squeezed this out of medical training," says Leonard Feldman, M.D., the study's senior author and a hospitalist at The Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH).

For the study, trained observers followed 29 internal medicine interns doctors in their first year out of medical school at JHH and the University of Maryland Medical Center for three weeks during January 2012, for a total of 873 hours. The observers used an iPod Touch app to mark down what the interns were doing at every minute of their shifts. If they were multi-tasking, the observers were told to count the activity most closely related to direct patient care.

The researchers found that interns spent 12 percent of their time talking with and examining patients; 64 percent on indirect patient care, such as placing orders, researching patient history and filling out electronic paperwork; 15 percent on educational activities, such as medical rounds; and 9 percent on miscellaneous activities. The researchers acknowledge that it's unclear what proportion of time spent at the bedside is ideal, or whether the interns they studied in the first year of a three-year internal medicine training program make up the time lost with patients later in residency. But 12 percent, Feldman says, "seems shockingly low at face value. Interns spend almost four more times as long reviewing charts than directly engaging patients."

Studies in 1989 and 1993 found that interns still spent more time documenting than seeing patients, but they spent between 18 and 22 percent of their time at the bedside. In those studies, however, researchers found that a large chunk of time was spent sleeping at the hospital, something rarely seen today. Reduced intern work hours were designed to lessen trainee fatigue and improve patient safety.

Feldman says questions raised by his study aren't just about whether the patients are getting enough time with their doctors, but whether the time spent with patients is enough to give interns the experience they need to practice excellent medicine. With fewer hours spent in the hospital, protocols need to be put in place to ensure that vital parts of training aren't lost, the researchers say.

"As residency changes, we need to find ways to preserve the patient-doctor relationship," Block says. "Getting to know patients better can improve diagnoses and care and reduce medical errors."

The researchers say better electronic medical records may help reduce time spent combing through patient histories on the computer. Another improvement could be made by grouping an intern's patients together on the same hospital unit so the intern doesn't have to race from floor to floor to see patients, wasting time in transit.

Block says she would like to know how patients feel about how little time they see with interns, who generally are charged with overseeing many aspects of their care. Studies have shown that only 10 percent of hospitalized patients know who their resident doctors are.

"It's not an easy problem to solve," Feldman says. "All of us think that interns spend too much time behind the computer. Maybe that's time well spent because of all of the important information found there, but I think we can do better."


'/>"/>

Contact: Stephanie Desmon
sdesmon1@jhmi.edu
410-955-8665
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Hospitals communication during residency matching may put stress on OB-GYN doctors-in-training
2. U.S. Spends More on Dementia Care Than Heart Disease or Cancer: Study
3. Medicare Spending Not Linked to Longer Cancer Survival
4. Warm Glow From Spending on Others Is Universal, Study Finds
5. Introducing more patient reality into NHS spending decisions
6. Fussy babies spend more time in front of the TV
7. U.S. Health Care Spending Now at $2.7 Trillion: Report
8. HR Strategies Holds Flexible Spending Account and Voluntary Benefit Open Enrollment
9. Eating or spending too much? Blame it on Facebook
10. Study suggests eliminating Medicare consultation payments associated with a net increase in spending
11. Regional analysis masks substantial local variation in health care spending
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/12/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... February 12, 2016 , ... Donor ... in northern California and Nevada, announced a partnership with San Ramon Regional Medical Center. ... to the hospital’s facilities as a way to accommodate a more certain time frame ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... , ... February 12, 2016 , ... For Coast Dental ... Suzan Sweeney, RDH, and dental assistant Terrell Moore shortly before 7 a.m. to volunteer ... of dental professionals, donating their time and skills to help hundreds of uninsured and ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... Mediaplanet today announces ... The print component of “Revolutionizing Cancer Care” is distributed within the February 12 ... Seattle, with a circulation of approximately 250,000 copies and an estimated readership of ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... Atlantic Information Services, ... Plans and PBMs,” an upcoming Feb. 24 webinar that will discuss ways health ... therapeutic categories, such as the $1,000-per-pill hepatitis C treatment Sovaldi and high-cost PCSK9 ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... San Rafael, CA (PRWEB) , ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... camps outside Des Moines, Iowa. Legacy Golf Club, located in Norwalk, serves as the ... Teacher of the Year, Rob Randall. , “We have had successful camps in recent ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... -- Walgreens has committed to provide drug disposal kiosks ... D.C. as part of a program to combat ... advocacy organization As You Sow. Conrad MacKerron , ... on to unneeded drugs because they lack easily accessible collection ... --> Conrad MacKerron , Senior Vice President at As ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... -- NOIT™ Research LLC, a private, leading-edge autism research group, ... assist needy families in obtaining one of its special ... 10, 2016 and March 31, 2016, the company will ... is an auditory stimulus that plays a key role ... Beth Shier , NOIT Research director. "The ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Ore. , Feb. 11, 2016 Wellpartner, ... announce the acquisition of SolutionsRx, a full-service 340B company ... Along with providing traditional contract pharmacy services, SolutionsRx also ... clients in navigating the complex 340B regulatory environment. ... --> James R. Love , CEO of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: