Excessive administrative tasks divert physicians' time and focus away from patient care, the American College of Physicians (ACP) told a panel of members of Congress this afternoon. William Fox, MD, FACP, an internist at Fox and Brantley Internal Medicine in Charlottesville, Virginia, presented ACP's ideas for how to address the burdensome administrative tasks physicians face to the second Red Tape Relief Initiative roundtable, convened by the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee.
"Reducing red tape and administrative burdens that stymie a physician's ability to prioritize patient care is a longstanding goal of ACP, and I want to thank the House Ways and Means Committee for giving ACP a seat at the table to address these issues today," said Dr. Fox. "We are encouraged that Congress's approach to ridding our healthcare system of red tape will aim to address physician burn-out—which is increasingly impacting physicians across the country."
ACP launched its Patients Before Paperwork initiative in 2015 that focuses on reinvigorating the patient-physician relationship by challenging administrative burdens physicians face in their practices so that they can spend more time on patient care. ACP also published "Putting Patients First by Reducing Administrative Tasks in Health Care: A Position Paper of the American College of Physicians" in 2017, which provides a comprehensive framework for identifying and evaluating administrative tasks and outlines detailed recommendations to reduce excessive administrative tasks across the health care system.
"Patients are physicians' number one priority, but it can be difficult to put them first when we're often faced with large amounts of paperwork and other costly administrative burdens. Today's roundtable was a great opportunity to discuss how we can continue focusing on improving the quality of care and ensuring patients are receiving timely and appropriate treatment," said Dr. Fox. "ACP is looking forward to working with Congress and the administration to take concrete steps to help physicians and other medical professionals reduce administrative burdens, and we hope constructive conversations like the one that took place today will ultimately lead to meaningful policy changes that will improve the patient-physician relationship."
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Shari M. Erickson et al. Putting Patients First by Reducing Administrative Tasks in Health Care: A Position Paper of the American College of Physicians, Annals of Internal Medicine (2017). DOI: 10.7326/M16-2697