What could your providers do with an extra 25 hours per month? A recent article from John Lynn highlighted how UC Davis Health helped diminish the number of hours their providers spent working after hours to keep up with their workload, aptly called “pajama time”. This time was not only spent documenting in the Electronic Health Record, but also included order entry, checking charts, managing inboxes, and the other non-patient-facing tasks in a day like filling out forms. How many hours per week do your providers clock in for “pajama time” to keep up with all that’s required of them?
Given the proliferation of burnout and the effects of stress in healthcare, reducing or eliminating the “pajama time” is not a nice-to-have but a must. UC Davis focused not only on documentation efficiency and best practices, but also talked to the entire clinic about pain points to look for improvements. Maximizing resources practicing to the top of their license and using a team-based approach to help with the nuances throughout the day can tremendously help cut down on these after hours.
Consider your own practice – are there items that your providers spend time on, like filling out forms, that could be done by another resource and signed off on by the provider? What about managing document filing after signing off in the EHR? By utilizing others within the practice and knowledgeable business associate partners outside of the practice, your providers too can see the results UC Davis experienced – an astounding 25 hours per month returned to the providers. John says it best in his article, “At 25 hours per month saved per provider, the better question is how a healthcare organization can afford not to invest in… this.”
Utilizing teams doesn’t just impact after-hours time utilization, though. MGMA Stat recently published the results of a patient access poll asking practice administrators about patient satisfaction regarding ability to get an appointment at the practice. Is it difficult for patients to get appointments in your practice because you have admin time built in for providers or staff? As the article author Nate Moore points out, it’s not just how long it takes to get an appointment – it’s also how long it takes to get in the exam room.
- Is your front desk staff bouncing between checking patients in and other administrative tasks like filing records?
- Are they verifying insurance after the patient checks in, but before the patient is roomed, creating additional time for the patient to wait?
- Is your staff also tasked with monitoring social media and other patient engagement tasks?
By analyzing what your staff is doing as they check in and room patients, you may find opportunities for efficiencies, and even tasks that do not need to be performed by the current responsible team member. For instance, can insurance verification be done prior to the patient arriving for their visit? Verifying insurance details prior to a visit cuts down on patient time in the waiting room, relieves the front desk of “just one more task”, and ensures they know patient financial responsibility and collect the proper copays or coinsurance at the time of the visit. Looking for efficiencies in the waiting room process can yield huge rewards in gaining staff time to take care of patients. As Nate Moore asks at the end of the article “What will you measure, and what will you change, to improve patient access in your practice?”
The power is all yours. If you want to learn how you can find additional hours for not only your providers, but also your staff, DataFile is here to help. Reach out to us today or call us at (816) 381-9850 to see how we can help!