Maintaining electronic medical records is one of the major factors contributing to physician burnout in Canada and the U.S. (Canadian Medical Association Journal Nov. 2017; 189(45):E1405-E1406). This type of documentation along with speaking engagements, teaching commitments, and familial duties are just some of the multiple responsibilities that physicians manage outside of direct patient care.
Proper use of technology can help physicians better manage their priorities, said the medical director of the RKS Dermatology Centre at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, during her presentation at the Women in Dermatology Leadership Meeting in Toronto.
“If you look at the data from the Canadian Medical Association, half of us think we’re overworked,” said Dr. Marissa Joseph, who is also a staff physician at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and a clinician teacher in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. “What that translates to is not having enough time. We really have to look at technology and how that fits into the picture.”
Technology can help improve not only the efficiency of an individual physician, but also the overall workflow of their dermatologic practice, noted Dr. Joseph. Below are some of the apps that she says help her run her practice.
This email app allows users to import multiple email accounts. It also sets reminders for users to write back to their colleagues. It lets them to share their expectations with recipients, such as when and if they need a reply.
“I have four hospital emails, two university emails, and a personal email. It’s hard to keep everything separated and together. But with Timyo, you can train it to import certain emails and keep track of things,” said Dr. Joseph.
2. A cloud-based service
Dropbox, Google Drive, and Mega (for sensitive information that needs to be encrypted) are apps that can help physicians store their content safely and remotely. They give users the flexibility to work on certain files anytime and anywhere.
These medical reference apps are tools for physicians to reference the dosing, efficacy, pricing, and safety information of a wide array of prescription drugs.
This Maintenance of Certification app helps physicians keep track of their learning activities and manage their continuing professional development easily on their smartphones.
“I used to be the person in January who would be struggling and staying up half the night trying to input everything . . . But the app makes it easy to just do it on-the-go. It’s a real time-saver,” said Dr. Joseph.
These two apps can help clinicians manage their clinic’s finances. Venmo is a free app that easily lets users transfer money from one user to another, in real time. It also has the ability to split charges between multiple users.
Square is also free of charge. It is a point of sale app with the capacity for credit card processing, real-time inventory management, sales reporting, and more.
“Square has a 2.5 per cent service charge but you get a lot for that. It organizes things in a meaningful way and is very good for accountants. It also has a nice sleek look if you have an aesthetic type practice,” said Dr. Joseph.
These mobile apps are great tools for on-the-go documentation. SignEasy is an electronic signature app that lets users sign and submit papers to their colleagues and staff in a more efficient way. With CamScanner, users can scan and transfer their physical records on their smartphones.
This note-taking app lets users create and organize notes on their smartphones, tablets, or desktop computers. Content can be enhanced with links, audio recordings, and a feature that makes even handwritten notes searchable. The “business” version of the app allows multiple users to collaborate on a single note, which can be useful for various team projects.