Purpose. The Health Care Financing Administration's guidelines for billing and documentation by attending physicians have increased the amount of time that attending physicians spend documenting the services that they provide for patients. This study assessed the impact of these guidelines on attending physicians' teaching of housestaff on inpatient medical wards.
Method. A survey of 92 housestaff from the department of medicine at one teaching hospital was conducted in 1998 to determine how attending physicians' billing and documentation requirements, clinic responsibilities, teaching styles, and inpatient census affected the quantity and quality of their teaching. The questionnaire included a rank-order analysis of factors affecting quantity and quality of attending physicians' teaching, as well as a five-point Likert scale assessing the quality of attending physicians' teaching.
Results. All housestaff responded. A total of 39% of housestaff perceived billing and documentation requirements to be the major detriment to quantity of teaching by attending physicians, and 30% perceived these requirements to be the major detriment to quality of teaching by attending physicians. Housestaff perceived more teaching and higher-quality teaching on services where attending physicians did not perform billing and documentation during teaching rounds.
Conclusion. Billing and documentation requirements are a major detriment to the quantity of teaching on inpatient services, especially when faculty attempt to meet these requirements during teaching rounds.