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'Physician partners' free doctors to focus on patients, not paperwork
Date:5/15/2014

Primary care physicians already have enough administrative duties on their plates, and the implementation of electronic medical records has only added to their burden. As a result, they have less time to spend with their patients.

But a new UCLA study suggests a simple way to lighten their load: a "physician partner" whose role would be to work on those administrative tasks, such as entering information into patient records, that take up so much of doctors' time. A physician partner allows doctors to focus more of their attention on their patients and leads to greater patient satisfaction with their care, the UCLA researchers say.

The study is published online in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

"Patients want their doctors to spend time with them and give them the attention that makes them feel more confident in their medical care they don't want to just sit there while their doctor is on the computer," said Dr. David Reuben, chief of the division of geriatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the study's primary investigator. "This also saves physicians a huge amount of time after patient sessions end, enabling them to spend more time with their families, keep up with the latest developments in medicine and come back refreshed the next day."

From November 2012 through June 2013, five physicians in two academic practices three geriatricians and two general internists each utilized physician partners over a total of 326 four-hour clinic sessions. The partners worked alongside the physicians during patient visits and participated in team huddles, transcribed physician comments into patients' records, pulled patient information from computer records, completed lab and referral requests, processed new prescriptions or medication refills, updated patient medication lists, scheduled follow-up appointments and provided patients with their visit summaries.

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Contact: Enrique Rivero
erivero10@netscape.net
310-597-5768
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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