How one health system makes work life easier for its doctors and advanced practice providers

doctor time efficiency
Multicare Health System set up a program to look for ways to make work more efficient for doctors and other providers.

Want to know how you can make work life easier for doctors? Consider the findings of one health system that had consultants shadow physicians to come up with ways to make their work more efficient.

MultiCare Health System (MHS), based in Tacoma, Washington, created the Provider Wellness Program to find and address the root causes of workplace frustrations for its physicians and advanced practice providers, according to a report on AMA Wire.

By having program consultants shadow more than 15 physicians, the health system found that at too many practices, doctors do a lot of work that other members of the healthcare team can complete. For instance, staff can place orders for patient mammograms and colonoscopies.

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Here are four ways MultiCare found to make the workday better for providers:

1. Offload non-physician work to other staff. Let other members of the team triage or handle work that piles up in the in-basket of the electronic health records system, such as messages from patients, test results, or questions and requests from nursing homes or referring providers.

2. Encourage physicians to complete work at different times during the day. For instance, some physicians work late at night when their families are asleep to review notes and sign off on them, Ellie Rajcevich, a consultant hired to help optimize practice time, told the publication. Instead of reviewing notes at the end of the day, providers might try doing that work in the early morning or at other times during the day.

3. Make use of medical assistant scribes. While the doctor sees the patient, the medical assistant can take notes during the visit, as well as prepare the patient before the physician arrives and do any follow-up at the end of the visit.

4. Look for ways to more efficiently use the EHR. MultiCare has three certified trainers from its EHR vendor to train new providers, shadow them in the clinic, and perform one-on-one coaching sessions to help them save time.