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20+ stats on how independent healthcare providers spend time with patients

Our recent survey sheds light on how independent healthcare providers manage their time with patients.

spending more time with patients

At a Glance

  • Longer patient consultations significantly improve patient satisfaction, outcomes, and quality of life for those with chronic illnesses.
  • High patient volumes and time-consuming administrative tasks are the primary barriers to increased patient interaction time.
  • Spending more quality time with patients directly enhances healthcare providers’ job satisfaction and overall efficiency.

Longer patient consultations are linked to improved patient satisfaction, patient outcomes, and quality of life for chronically ill patients

Tebra’s recent "Time with Patients" survey delves deeper to uncover the challenges, benefits, and solutions related to the decreasing patient interaction time.

The highlights below illustrate:

  • How independent healthcare providers spend their time
  • Why patient time is decreasing
  • Insights into optimizing electronic health record (EHR) workflows 
  • How provider job satisfaction and burnout are linked 
time with patients stats

How much time do independent providers spend with patients? 

Our recent survey sheds light on how independent healthcare providers manage their time with patients. 

1. 42% of providers see more than 21 patients per day. In our survey, 42% of providers reported seeing more than 21 patients daily, with 55% of primary care physicians and specialists, 29% of psychiatrists/mental health professionals, and 19% of nurse practitioners. Additionally, 25% see 16–20 patients daily, 23% see 11–15 patients, 8% see 6–10 patients, and only 2% see 1–5 patients each day.

2. 17% of providers reported patient interaction time has decreased in the last year. The main reason? Simply having too many patients. 7% of providers reported an increase in patient interaction time, and 76% said it stayed the same.

17% of providers reported patient interaction time has decreased in the last year. ”

3. 78% of providers reported spending more than 16 minutes with each new patient, but the number fluctuates between specialties. According to survey responses, 45% of primary care providers spend 16–20 minutes with each new patient, but only 16% of specialists do. 77% of nurse practitioners reported spending more than 20 minutes with each new patient, as did 100% of psychiatrists. 

4. For returning patients, 21% spend 16–20 minutes, and another 21% spend more than 20 minutes. 33% of providers reported spending 11–15 minutes per patient. 

5. 59% of providers reported that patient appointments often extend beyond the scheduled time. 

6. The main reasons for extended appointments include additional patient questions (85%), late arrivals (69%), and inaccurate or incomplete information provided by patients (53%).

Barriers to spending more time with patients 

7. The main barriers to spending more time with each patient include a high volume of patients (53%), time-consuming administrative tasks (49%), and usability issues with EHR systems (40%).

8. Regarding billing and payment processes, 9% of providers reported spending no time on these tasks, while 53% spent less than 5 hours per week.

9. The biggest challenges with billing and payment workflows are the complexity of processes (37%), time consumption (37%), and error rates (12%).

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10. Regarding EHR documentation, 37% of providers expressed a preference for spending more time on patient care. While 23% felt they effectively balanced time between EHR documentation and patient care, 21% spent equal time on both. 

11. 82% of providers agree that more time with patients is a key value of independent practices versus those run by hospital networks and/or corporations. 

12. When asked directly how EHR tasks affect patient interaction time, 65% said these tasks greatly decrease time with patients. Furthermore, 36% of providers reported wanting to spend more time on patient care than charting notes.

13. Over half of providers report spending 6–15 minutes on EHR notes for every patient. This equates to about 30 seconds to 1 minute of charting per minute spent with patients. 

14. Most providers also spent up to 10 minutes charting notes in EHR/EMR. And the trend extends across specialties:

  • Primary care: 64% spend up to 10 minutes charting notes
  • Mental health: 65% spend up to 10 minutes charting notes 
  • Specialists: 84% spend up to 10 minutes charting notes
  • Nurse practitioners: 48% spend up to 10 minutes charting notes

Workday allocation: Patient care vs. administrative tasks

15. 39% of providers reported spending 1–2 hours per week managing their calendars.

16. 86% of providers spend less than 1 hour each week managing their practice’s online presence. 

17. This shift towards spending time on admin rather than care delivery has negatively impacted job satisfaction. Among respondents:

  • 47% said they were somewhat satisfied with the time spent with patients
  • 25% said they had experienced worsened satisfaction over the past year
  • 80% linked this decrease in job satisfaction to a lack of patient interaction time

Impact on job satisfaction 

18. Over the past year, 31% of healthcare providers reported a decline in their job satisfaction, with 22% indicating it has somewhat worsened and 9% stating it has significantly worsened.

19. A substantial 72% of providers agreed that spending more quality time with their patients directly contributes to their job satisfaction.

20. The aspects of their job that most contribute to their satisfaction include work-life balance (79%), patient outcomes (72%), and compensation and benefits (67%).

Discover more insights

Spending time with patients is essential for patient outcomes, job satisfaction, and practice efficiency. So in Tebra’s recent time with patients survey, we explored providers' challenges and solutions.

Read the full story here

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Kelsey Ray Banerjee

Kelsey Ray Banerjee is a professional content writer in the healthcare, marketing, and finance space. She has worked in the back office of a psychiatric practice, and with family members working in mental health for 2 generations, she understands the challenges healthcare professionals face when it comes to marketing and admin. She believes access to efficient healthcare is essential for society’s well-being, and loves being able to write content that can positively impact a practice and its patients.

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