In a recent podcast epidose, Katie Lawrence, Director of Ambulatory Optimization and Integration at Greenville Health System spoke with us about successful medical practice operations and why they are important for healthcare.
TAKING A NEW AIM
Lawrence has a diverse background in clinical operations ranging from management of multiple specialty and primary care practices to larger roles encompassing operations over several regions. She believes that having a seamless experience across all parties within the clinic leads to having the best practices. In the past, leaders have looked at what is called the triple aim. This is composed of quality, patient experience and cost. We now must incorporate a new aim for practices, which is team member experience. With burnout prevalent in this industry it is beneficial to look at different strategies and ways to improve experiences for those who make the clinic run.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE
Lawrence said one of the keys to increasing the experience for associates operating the clinic is looking at work efficiencies and how we can enhance current state to encompass the technological or operational advances now available. Access to care is more than just the face to face visit when seeing a provider. There are numerous ways for outreach and treatment outside of this physical visit. Lawrence referred to this as asynchronous care meaning there should be touch points and opportunities for patients outside of direct contact with the clinic i.e. scheduling an appointment online at 10:30 P.M. or messaging your physician and getting a response. This provides additional touch points available at the discretion of the patient.
HOW THIS BENEFITS STAFF
One big take-away from this discussion is how we can make changes in overall care to impact the satisfaction of associates. One tip that might seem obvious but is extremely helpful when looking at scope of work is to ask the questions. How many clicks does it take in the EMR to complete a task? What can we replace with new technology? What is outdated? What can be removed from operations altogether? These are just a few examples of engagement that can result in increased efficiency within the practice. When we are asking these questions, what really happens is getting a deeper understanding of what the different processes look like and how they can be optimized. By taking the time to understand what each of the associates are working through and gaining their perspective of workload, you are able to more accurately comprehend their scope and adjust accordingly.
Keep in mind that often times when enacting change, you will get increased success with the appropriate buy-in. Much of what we do is driven by what has been done. This is a sense of security for some individuals and it may be challenging to pioneer new strategies with them. Start with those that you know are capable and eager to give new strategies a try. Once those have been tested and the bugs worked out you may begin implementing on a wider scale and find that it is received much more easily. Continuing to engage associates and providers as you begin implementation is still vital even though you have proven the process can work. They need to be a part of the decision and have the ability to provide feedback should they choose. You want to ensure it is a collaborative effort across all fronts to maximize the success of new operations.
FOR THE LONG HAUL
As with many projects there may be stumbling blocks or bumps in the road as you try to implement change. Trust that what you are executing will be beneficial for the group and help others to see the positive impact it will have. Additionally, build these mind sets into the day to day life of the practice. One key to avoiding burnout is keeping associates engaged and letting them see the fruits of their labor. By allowing them the opportunity to work through their responsibilities you are relieving them in more ways than one. They are feeling empowered about their position but also finding new ways to perform their tasks that are potentially resolving additional workload for the rest of the group. Help everyone to see the joy in what they do and optimization of the practice should happen naturally.
If you're interested in learning more about reducing physician burnout you can join us at MGMA's Annual Conference October 13th-16th in New Orleans. Registration is now open.