Mar 2007 Table of Contents

LETTERS

Fam Pract Manag. 2007 Mar;14(3):15.

No more coding!

Why are you bothering us with coding? Studies show that doctors are unhappy and burned out in part because of overwork, mostly due to paperwork hassles.1

The overwork issue could be significantly helped by leaving the coding to one of the myriad administrators who seem to have proliferated over the years. I know the excuse for encumbering highly and expensively trained medical doctors with this clerical chore is that administrators think these numbers are the diagnosis. From a doctor's point of view, codes are not diagnoses. They are a translation of the accurate verbal diagnosis into a numerical language. Most of us do not understand this numerical language any better than we understand ancient Sanskrit. You seem to think we should put our already overburdened time into learning this language. I think we should put this time into face-to-face patient care and to keeping up with the medical literature, which has a half-life of two years.

If something isn't done about the paperwork burdens that doctors now bear, there won't be any more of us. And because prospective medical students are smart enough to see the situation we are in, they will find something else to do for a living. They will, therefore, not be replacing the growing numbers of retirees and escapees from medicine.

Editor's response:

The coding articles that appear in FPM continue to be rated by our readers as our most useful content. As long as they're highly valued, we'll keep publishing them.

1. Steiger B. Survey results: doctors say morale is hurting. The Physician Executive. 2006;32(6):6–15.

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