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Insights: How to improve patient access while reducing staff burnout

Podcast - April 15, 2019

Human Resources

Operations Management

Quality & Patient Experience

MGMA Staff Members

Katie Lawrence, director of ambulatory optimization and integration at Greenville Health System, joined the MGMA Insights podcast to discuss successful medical practice operations. 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 the Triple Aim of quality, patient experience and cost. Lawrence points to the emergence of the Quadruple Aim, which incorporates the team member/provider experience to the equation. With burnout prevalent across the healthcare industry, she says it is beneficial to look at different strategies and ways to improve experiences for those who make the clinic run.

 What a better team experience looks like

Lawrence said one of the keys to improving the work-life experience of providers and clinic staff members is looking at work efficiencies and how we can enhance current state via technological or operational improvements. Expanding access to care outside of face-to-face visits is one method of achieving that goal. Lawrence referred to this as asynchronous care, meaning there should be touch points and opportunities for patients outside of direct contact with the clinic, e.g. scheduling an appointment online after business hours or messaging your physician and getting a response. This provides additional touch points available at the discretion of the patient.

How this benefits staff

To make changes in care delivery and workflows that improves employee and provider satisfaction, it's vital to ask questions about the scope of the work: How many clicks does it take in the EHR to complete a task? Are the outdated workflows that can be replaced inexpensively with new technology? 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 person is working through and gaining their perspective of workload, you are able to more accurately comprehend their scope and adjust accordingly.

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 people 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.

Additional resources

If you're interested in learning more about reducing physician burnout you can join us at MGMA19 | The Annual Conference, Oct. 13-16 in New Orleans. Registration is now open.


About the Author

MGMA Staff Members

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