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CPBJ Extra Blog

Emergency medicine physicians prefer advance directives

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The “business and regulation of health care” is changing medicine practice for the worse, according to a majority of emergency medicine doctors.

And, according to them, advance directives, or legal documents informing the doctor of a patient’s health care wishes, would make things easier.

The information comes from a survey released this week by Harrisburg-based health care technology company, Geneia, which surveyed more than 300 emergency medicine physicians nationwide.

The majority – 92 percent – is slightly higher than the results from a survey conducted earlier this year, which found that 87 percent of physicians as a whole felt the same way.

It discovered that emergency medicine physicians scored 3.9 out of 5 on the “Physician Misery index,” whereas physicians as a whole previously surveyed scored 3.7.

Out of the emergency medicine physicians surveyed, 67 percent admitted they have considered a new career outside of clinical practice.

But the survey didn’t only point out their misery; it also offered insight on how to restore the “Joy of Medicine” to emergency doctors by asking them what would make them happier.

Of the emergency medicine physicians surveyed, 93 percent said that in cases when an advance directive is easily accessible, they are less frustrated.

This also ties into better quality of care – 85 percent said, "When a patient says they have an advance directive, it helps me deliver better quality of patient care."

Advance directives don’t only help doctors. The survey showed that 88 percent of physicians agreed that patients’ family members are more satisfied with care when the patients’ wishes are known and communicated through documentation.

This health care wish list, so to speak, ties into the “Joy of Medicine Challenge” created by Geneia in response to the initial survey indicating how unhappy physicians were.

The challenge calls on physicians to come up with solutions and present them to a panel of physician judges and Chicago health care stakeholders at a live event.

The winner this summer was Dr. Hashim Zaidi. He won the $5,000 prize for his proposal, “Dealing with Death: A Mechanism to Reduce Costs and Improve Care,” which focuses on reducing costs and increasing patient and family comfort by making sure end-of-life care decisions are known to physicians. This was prompted by an interest in making organ donor information from drivers’ licenses accessible to health care providers.

Carrie Mendoza, an emergency medicine physician and judge for the Geneia Joy of Medicine Challenge, said, “As an emergency medicine physician, it’s not at all surprising to me that 100 percent of my colleagues said it is important to have an advance directive in case of emergency. Advance directives help improve satisfaction for patients, families, and physicians.”

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