the Modern Art
of Medicine

Creating the Modern Art of Medicine

If we don’t start taking better care of physicians, how will they take care of us?

Illustrations: Eleanor Shakespeare

atients need physicians—and physicians need patients. So what happens when they stop spending time together?

According to a recent article in JAMA Internal Medicine, 50 percent of U.S. physicians experience burnout, an occupationally induced syndrome associated with profound personal and professional consequences, including ones related to patient safety and satisfaction. Meanwhile, in a study published in Annals of Medicine in late 2016, doctors report spending the majority of their day at a computer, completing clerical work and tasks related to electronic health-record (EHR) systems, rather than focusing their attention on what they want: hands-on care.

Something needs to change. Aspiring doctors don’t go to medical school because they desire to be data-entry clerks. They dream of making diagnoses that save lives, performing groundbreaking surgeries, curing the planet’s deadliest diseases, bringing babies into the world, and providing holistic family care.

Science and Tech That Put People First
In areas ranging from EHRs and telemedicine to cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, these are three promising new initiatives built for the future.




Top stakeholders are developing a new set of guidelines for mobile health apps to reduce the burden on providers, give consumers confidence, and help app developers bring products to market faster. LEARN MORE >>

This online community matches physicians with companies and entrepreneurs who seek input in the development of digital health products and services. The objective is to ensure more tools are patient-centered, evidence-based, interoperable, and outcomes-focused. LEARN MORE >>

Leading physicians, technologists, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists are joining together in this new Silicon Valley–based incubator to transform the $3.4 trillion U.S. health-care industry. They are developing and commercializing solutions like data liquidity protected by world-class security, health-care systems realigned around chronic care, radical productivity, and value-based payments. LEARN MORE >>

To accomplish the noble goals of what patient care is meant to be, doctors need organizational leadership, practical resources, advocacy efforts, regulatory relief, and technological innovations that concentrate on putting people first. That’s the modern art of medicine.

Already, new evidence suggests that making these kinds of changes pays off: Improvement in physicians’ well-being is possible, investment in organizational change is justified, and the return on investment is measurable. Giving physicians what they need most—more time with their patients—is critical for the future of medicine..

Test Yourself
How does your health-care experience compare?
Test your knowledge:


In the U.S., what percentage of a typical workday can most family physicians spend with their patients?

According to a recent study, physicians spent 27 percent of their total time on direct clinical face time with patients and 49.2 percent of their time on EHR and desk work.

Source: Allocation of Physician Time in Ambulatory Practice: A Time and Motion Study in 4 Specialties, Annals of Medicine, December 2016

Next Question >>





How many hours do physicians spend on clerical tasks at home, outside of their typical workday?

The majority of physicians reported doing one to two hours of work each night, devoted mostly to EHR tasks.

Source: Annals of Family Medicine

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