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Most of the documentation physicians perform don’t help patients

Let me post a question that neither I nor readers can answer: How much of what I do during the course of a day directly benefits patients?

Perhaps, I don’t want to really know as I would be dismayed at how much of my effort benefits no one. Ask a nurse who works on a hospital ward, how much of his or her effort is directly applied to patient care. I would recommend that you have a double dose of antacid in hand: one dose for you and the other for the nurse.

Just today, I was gently reproved by a hospital physician administrator for a lapse in one of my recent progress notes, which I write after seeing every hospital patient I consult on. Which of the following transgressions do you think I was cited for? Only one answer is correct.

  • I did not perform an adequate physical examination.
  • I failed to address the results of an abnormal CT scan.
  • I neglected to write the time of day along with the date of the note.
  • I did not discuss the case with the patient’s family.

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