Exclusive Survey-Productivity: Work hours up, patient visits down

November 3, 2006

Documentation, insurance, and compliance issues are keeping many doctors in the office longer.

Indeed, among all primary care physicians, the median workweek remained at 50 hours in 2006, but doctors reported a median 104 patient visits per week this year as compared to 110 last year. FPs, who held steady at 50-hour workweeks in 2005 and 2006, went from seeing 120 patients each week to seeing 109. Pediatricians are still working a median 45 hours a week, but they're seeing just 108 patients, down from 121.

Also, doctors who are switching from manual record-keeping to EHRs might find that they have to put in more office hours to get the new system up and running. "We've seen EHR implementation dig deeply into physician productivity until the practice members are adept at using the system," says Judy Bee of Practice Performance Group in Long Beach, CA.