Doctors face numerous frustrations in caring for patients, but few are as infuriating—or expensive—as prior authorizations.
Consider their impact on productivity. A 2010 American Medical Association survey found that physicians spend an average of 20 hours per week (a number that some doctors say is too low) on prior authorization activities. With approximately 835,000 physicians practicing in the nation, that represents 868.4 million hours given over annually to this administrative task—not counting the time spent by other staff members.
As for the dollar cost, physicians spend an annual average of nearly $83,000 interacting with insurance plans, according to a 2011 study published in Health Affairs. That means the total cost to physicians for prior authorizations is around $69 billion annually.