The Burden of Documentation

When talking to our users as well as potential customers, we often encounter the (perceived) ever-increasing effort for documentation and administrative tasks as a major burden for surgeons. Looking at previous research on this topic and taking Switzerland as a case example, this isn’t very surprising considering the demands of the many non-medical stakeholders that are put on the surgical teams.

A recent study from the U.S. showed that general surgery residents spent an average of 38% of their working time logged into their EHR system.1 This correlates well with Switzerland, where resident physicians in hospitals reported spending 28% of their time on documentation.2 Overall, physicians working in Swiss hospital spent an average of almost 30% of their time on documentation and administrative tasks in 2017, with documentation accounting for a rapidly growing share. It’s small wonder then to see that the time available for patient-related activities has decreased by almost 10% since 2011.

Not surprisingly, only 43% of physicians are happy with their collaboration with hospital administration. Looking at the multitude of reporting requirements also provides us with some insights into why systems that don’t talk to each other are such a hassle. Just look at the following illustrative list of potential data recipients in orthopaedic surgery:

  • Siris Implant Register: starting in 2012, hip and knee surgeons have had to provide data on the more than 20’000 hip and more than 16’000 knee implants per year.
  • ANQ quality data: since 2011, Swiss hospitals have had to report a multitude of quality-related data to a central registry.
  • Medical Statistics of Hospitals: ever since the 2009 and the start of preparations for the implementation of the much-maligned SwissDRG, Swiss hospitals have had to report an even more complex set of data to the Federal Statistical Office.
  • Logbook of surgical procedures: to record all the procedures that they participated in, resident surgeons have to fill a dedicated logbook with a minimum number of procedures prior to completing their residency.

This sample of Swiss requirements that barely talk to each other is unfortunately fairly representative for the situation across many other countries.

We at Nodus Medical are convinced that the highly-trained specialists who have to take life-or-death decisions on a daily basis should not be bogged down by the ever increasing requirements and legacy systems used to collect documentation. Instead they should be freed up to once again focus on what they do best: caring for the patients that put their lives in the hands of specialists.

Want to learn more about how we have started reducing the effort required for documentation by automating most steps? Reach out to us!

1. Cox ML, Farjat AE, Risoli T, et al. Documenting or Operating: Where Is Time Spent in General Surgery Residency? J Surg Educ. 2018;75(6):e97-e106. doi:10.1016/J.JSURG.2018.10.010

2. gfs.bern. Verändertes Arbeitsumfeld Und Einstellung Zu Neuen Finanzierungsmodellen.; 2017.