Making Technology Work for Family Physicians

“The family medicine experience is based on a deep patient-physician interaction that requires support from technology. Today's EHRs have greatly eroded the experience rather than enhancing it. The vision is to help family physicians care for patients while using health IT that works for them, not against them."

-- Steven Waldren, M.D., M.S., AAFP vice president and chief medical informatics officer

According to a 2016 study published in Annals of Internal Medicine,(annals.org) primary care physicians spend a mere 27% of a typical day in direct contact with patients. Almost half -- 49% -- of that same day is consumed by administrative activities. Documentation in the EHR makes up a large portion of those activities. In fact, 37% of physician time in the exam room is spent on EHR and desk work.

As reported in a 2017 Annals of Family Medicine report,(www.annfammed.org) family physicians spend an average of 86 minutes of work in the EHR outside of the office setting. Known as "pajama time," this further leads to disengagement and is a detriment to physician well-being.

The documentation burden associated with EHRs is one of the top concerns of family physicians, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians’ annual Member Satisfaction Survey, which found that 61% of family physicians view the increase in administrative tasks and the associated burden of documentation, utilization review, quality reporting, etc., to be the most pressing issue for them and their practices.

AAFP Innovation Laboratory

The AAFP’s Innovation Laboratory was established to partner with industry to drive innovation with the latest proven technologies: cloud, AI/ML, voice and mobile technologies, to optimize the Family Medicine Experience.

Pilot 1: Reducing Documentation Burden through the use of a Digital Assistant

News Release: Suki Clinical Digital Assistant Greatly Reduces EHR Documentation Time and Burden for Family Physicians

The documentation burden associated with EHRs is one of the top concerns of family physicians, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians’ annual Member Satisfaction Survey. In order to address the frustration of EHR documentation burden, the AAFP established an Innovation Laboratory last year to test emerging artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that can address family physicians’ top challenges.

White Paper - AAFP Innovation Lab: Reducing Documentation Burden through the use of a Digital Assistant(163 KB PDF)

The American Academy of Family Physicians has launched a series of Innovation Labs to identify and demonstrate technologies essential to optimizing the Family Medicine Experience. The initial lab studied the use of a Digital Assistant to greatly reduce documentation burden and family physician burnout. This white paper includes results and analysis of the first pilot with digital assistant Suki.

AAFP News - Academy's Digital Assistant Pilot Advances to Stage Two
Family physicians can sign up now for the second stage of a pilot of the Suki voice-enabled artificial intelligence EHR assistant.

AAFP News - AI Moving Health Care to 'Cusp of a Major Revolution'
Panelists discussed artificial intelligence in health care during a main stage event at the 2019 Family Medicine Experience. 

Additional AAFP News Coverage:

Full Steam Ahead on Academy’s Health IT Innovation Project
Leader Voices blog post update on the Health IT Innovation Project.

AAFP to Shape Future of Health Care With New Informatics Push
AAFP News coverage of the establishment Health IT Innovation Project was established.