These days I’m spending a lot of time getting in depth with many tech companies. From time to time I’ll be asking those innovators to tell their story on THCB, and suggest what problems they are solving. First up is Meghan Conroy from Captureproof—Matthew Holt
Today’s doctors are communicating with their patients less than ever before, even as their days grow longer and busier. Physicians are pressured to see more patients in shorter encounters, while at the same time shouldering more of the administrative and documentation tasks associated with electronic medical records (EMR). The result is physicians who are spending more time looking at patients’ EMRs than looking at – or interacting with – the patients themselves.
Research bears this out. A recent RAND study shows that providers are frustrated by the high volume of clerical work, and the implementation of poorly designed technology, that hamper their efforts to deliver effective, efficient care. Primary care physicians spend nearly two hours on EMR tasks for every hour of direct patient care, with an average of six hours – more than half their workday – interacting with the EMR during and after clinic hours. The same study found that U.S. physicians’ clinical notes are, on average, four times as long as those in other countries.
No wonder the country is facing an epidemic of physician burnout. Doctors have become high paid data entry workers rather than caregivers. They are tethered to their screens, filling out countless forms and responding to multiple messages, eating into their face-to-face time with patients. With more patients to see, they have less time to prep for each encounter, leading to sub-optimal patient experiences and poorer outcomes.
Ironically, while technology helped create this problem, it also could provide the solution. Today, there are new tools that can help providers make patient visits more efficient, enhancing the quality of care. These tools range from Augmedix’s tech-enabled virtual scribes, intelligent personal assistants like Amazon’s Alexa which could transcribe doctors notes during appointments, and blockchain which could decentralize data and put it into patients’ hands.
The most compelling use of these new technologies liberates clinicians from the tedious and time-consuming work of inputting words into EMRs. My company CaptureProof converts people’s mobile phones into a secure, easy-to-use connected health tool for documenting and communicating vital patient information visually. These replace extensive note-taking in the EMR. Literally a picture is worth more than a thousand words and it only takes 13 milliseconds to scan versus 7.7 minutes to read and 3h20min to write.
The advent of these technologies means that the time has come to replace the standard of written medical records with visual reports. By empowering providers with faster, more accurate and meaningful visual data, these technologies can liberate them from the tyranny of inputting and reading thousands of words each day in EMRs, and allow them get back to doing what they are meant to do – providing quality care to patients. By contextualizing data over time visually, patients and providers can track health and healing. Objectively comparing data will allow for more informed decisions and ultimately, improved care and a better patient experience.