Ian Morrison, PhD
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Morrison I.; The Future of Physicians' Time. Ann Intern Med. 2000;132:80-84. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-132-1-200001040-00013
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2000;132(1):80-84.
Pressures on physicians' time have intensified over the past two decades. The rise of managed care in particular has had a negative effect on the quantity and quality of time that physicians spend with patients. In the future, patients will have an increasingly active role in health care and use of the Internet will become more frequent. These factors, coupled with dazzling new medical technologies, will profoundly affect the role of physicians and the ways in which they spend their time.
Physicians give time to their patients. Time is principally what physicians are paid for, not results or outcomes. The fee-for-service concept was developed as an economic model to compensate physicians for their time, with some reference to the complexity of the service or the degree of training required to provide it. Patients value their time with physicians and want to have more of it. Yet as health care enters a new millennium, physicians seem to have less time for patients. Physicians' time is not valued as highly by those who pay the bills, and physicians seem to be working harder, seeing more patients but spending less time with each of them. Physicians are spending more time on administrative and management duties and less time on their own families. Why is the physician's time under assault?
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Past, Present, and Future
Life is full of unfinished business. We are all burdened with a backlog of unsolved mystery and unresolved history. How do we balance this backlog with the pressures of the present? We should peruse the past, in order to prepare ourselves for projecting the present into the future. We are never finished with the past, and must live with it forever.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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