Minimize Risk of Physician Burnout Through Better Staff Management

In a busy healthcare practice, a happy provider makes for a happy practice. As a physician, you face many demands on your time that takes you away from what you enjoy most – caring for patients. Between EHR reporting, Meaningful Use tasks, reducing reimbursements, overseeing billing and collections, managing staff, and marketing your practice, we are sure you feel pulled in many directions, and unfortunately, burnout is a real risk.

By addressing some of these important, but time-guzzling culprits, you not only increase your on-the-job satisfaction, but staff engagement and productivity goes up as well. By spending less time on administrative requirements, you can spend more time with patients and see more of them each day – helping your practice to grow and become more profitable.

One area to help you save time in your clinical workflow is with staff management. Here are three best practices that can help:

Institute a daily huddle. A daily 15-minute team meeting can be the most effective way to increase teamwork, productivity and communication. These quick meetings are good to discuss:
  • problem solving of current cases
  • allocating resources for the day – create a plan to prepare for the day based on the schedule, resources and patient needs
  • problems or areas for process improvement that may have come up recently that can be fixed – pick only one metric at a time, identify a goal for its improvement and check the performance toward that target
  • staff recognition

Most importantly, keep these meetings to 15 minutes. Cut the agenda short if you must to not go over that amount of time.

Empower the team. Some practices follow a business model that includes one nurse or medical assistant per doctor. But having such a tight operation leaves a heavy workload to fall on the doctor. Dr. Paul DeChant, who conducted Kareo’s recent webinar on minimizing physician burnout, believes it’s better to use a team approach with two to four medical assistants, LVNs or RNs per doctor. He explained that team members could then be empowered to perform appropriate tasks for patient care and collect information and questions from patients to essentially tee up the entire visit before the doctor even walks into the exam room.

Having a nurse or MA stay during and after the visit can help the physician with notes and charting to ensure the patient has all the follow-up information, prescriptions, prior authorizations, etc. In this way, the patient can feel well cared for, which improves patient satisfaction while the doctor’s time is fully maximized. This strategy allows the physician to have a higher quality interaction and see even more patients.

Build the right team. Practices should fully consider adding a nurse practitioner or physician assistant to the team to improve patient care and expand the practice. According to the AAFP, adding a PA or NP to the staff can be an opportunity to expand the practice by offering extended hours or adding a new procedure or specialty service area for chronic illness management. These practitioners could provide preventive care, coordinate care management, write prescriptions, provide care for chronic diseases, and help with regulatory requirements like capturing data for quality-based payment programs.

It’s important to delegate as much as possible to these team members to ensure that the physician, NP and PA are all working to the top of their licenses for the best possible outcomes. For additional tips on staff management and other ways you can eliminate common timewasters to improve care and minimize physician burnout, download Kareo’s newest complimentary guide, “Optimizing Your Care Delivery Workflow to Save Time and Increase Revenue.”

To learn more about how we help independent medical practices, visit us at Kareo.com.

About the Author

Cher Knebel is a Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Kareo and joined the company in 2019. She has been a content creator for more than two decades, specifically working...

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