Ramin Javahery, MD, chief of adult and pediatric neurosurgery at Long Beach Memorial, Long Beach, California, says there are obvious financial pressures that drive people out of private practice into a larger corporate structure, but the changes in the workplace brought about by EHRs are also driving older doctors to retire rather than deal with the costs or increased work required.
“Younger physicians who are comfortable with typing, computers and the truncated patient interactions generated by EHRs do not resist its presence,” he says. “Older physicians, however, are more likely to lack those comforts. When faced with a less comfortable work environment, they choose to retire, especially since many have saved enough to be comfortable financially.”
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Kevin Gebke, MD, a family and sports medicine practitioner at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, says the issue is not fear, rather it’s a matter of dramatic workflow change.
“EHRs were not designed by practicing clinicians and are not intuitive regarding the different processes that take place during a patient encounter,” he says. “Physicians must often choose between communicating with the patient and navigating within the records to enter or view relevant data. That can fragment care during a patient visit.”
His experience with EHRs is it has slowed down his workflow, causing a significant decrease in productivity.
“Spread this decreased capacity to see patients across the country and we then have a magnified shortage of primary care providers,” Gebke says.