Doctor’s Diary July 23, 2017: Paperwork


Doctors and their staff are inundated with paperwork…and it is getting worse.  Despite computerization, the volume is overwhelming, and the data collected is mostly used to substantiate insurance payment and has many times nothing to do with the care of the patient.

This week I had to “pre-authorize” test strips for a diabetic through Medicare Part D.  Why?  I have never had to do this in the past.  It took 6 minutes to fill out the form, but multiply this by 10 more, and it becomes a full hour where I could have directly cared for my patients.  From the pharmacy came the threat:  the test strips cost $9.95.  If you don’t fill out the form, it will cost your patient $449! 

So when your doctor doesn’t return your phone call, think about the possibility your physician is taking care of their rising stack of paperwork.

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.


  • Gregory Jenkins MD says:

    Good morning, another typical day of getting to the office early to begin the paper crunch of requests to complete documents for insurance companies. I am hoping we close all the big insurance companies as they have 30 to 40% overhead and Medicare works quite efficiently at 4% overhead. Give every one Medicare as the system is already built and paid for, then none of the elite physicians who do not accept insurance will allow more patients to see physicians that are if short supply.

  • Who benefits from the present arrangement? H

  • I really appreciate your efforts to help doctors care for our patients. Have you met any elected officials who are interested in legislative fixes to the problems you describe? I am an elected member of a California Healthcare District and would like to collaborate with state and federal officials. Thank you.

  • In psychotherapy, we have more and more time wasted with mandated quarterly surveys and more frequent audits of patients charts so they can find ways to discontinue treatment or claw back money pais. I am working with my state.professional assn, CAMFT, to create billing codes so we can get paid for this work because all this extra work goes unpaid, makein the $xx session less profitable. And that $xx is the same amount they paid in the 1970’s! Insurance companies can fix prices, going against market force, because they are exempt from anti-trust laws intended to keep mafia in line.

  • Forcing computerization into healthcare has caused the explosion of time needed for charting and form completion by physicians and others.

    According to a study a few years ago out of the Catholic hospital system in St. Louis, nurses working in hospital inpatient units spend 97% of their time charting and 3% in patient care.

  • Pradeep kamboj says:

    Well said. I do not think patients realize the time spent in paperwork by their doctors.

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