Nurse ‘co-visits’ improve physician workflow, patient satisfaction at Denver clinic

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A Denver clinic has piloted a program using co-visits by registered nurses and clinicians.

A community health center in Denver is using "co-visits" by registered nurses to allow clinicians to see more patients.

Clinica Family Health has piloted a program using the co-visits, according to an MGMA Connection Plus article. The nurses do intake and document a patient’s condition before presenting the patient to a provider. The nurses then assist with patient education after a diagnosis is made.

The program allows providers to spend about five to 10 minutes with each patient, with the nurse doing the bulk of documentation, Malia Davis, R.N., director of nursing services and clinical team development, told the MGMA. The program has several benefits:

It allows for same-day appointments. Using more registered nurses as part of the care team has allowed the clinic to see those patients without double-booking providers or having to refer the person to an urgent care clinic or emergency room.

It improves patient satisfaction. Data shows 95% to 98% of patients are satisfied with the co-visits, Davis said. They may spend less time with a clinician, but they get attention from the entire care team.

It combats clinician burnout. The co-visits allow the clinic to provide good patient care, taking some of the burden off providers. Providers can see more patients without adding extra time in their schedules. For their part, nurses appreciate the added responsibility and leadership they provide on the teams.

To implement the model, Clinica nearly doubled the number of registered nurses at its clinic. When the clinic proposed the project, it did a business case model to show how many visits would have to be completed to pay for each nurse. The clinic hired and trained all of the additional nurses at the same time and if rolling out the project at other locations would try to slowly ramp up that process, Davis said.