Cut out unnecessary work and restore joy in your private practice

Tanya Albert Henry , Contributing News Writer

Imagine if you could turn your EHR into a tool that’s helping you save time instead of a burden that’s contributing to your feeling burnt out.

Practice sustainability toolkit

Set your private practice up for success with the latest AMA resources.

It’s possible, and the “AMA STEPS Forward™ Saving Time Playbook” will help guide the way, whether you’re in a physician-owned private practice or in a different practice setting. Part one of the three-part playbook will teach you to stop doing unnecessary work and save time by:

  • Eliminating unnecessary tasks and duplicative work.
  • Streamlining prescription prescribing and management for chronic illnesses.
  • Optimizing the EHR for physicians and care teams.

The playbook highlights AMA STEPS Forward open-access toolkits. The AMA STEPS Forward program offers innovative strategies that allow physicians and their staff to thrive in the new health care environment. These courses can help you prevent physician burnout, create the organizational foundation for joy in medicine and improve practice efficiency. 

The “Saving Time Playbook”—which also includes sections on incorporating practice fundamentals and making the case to leadership—highlights key messages and provides links to free online toolkits, videos, podcasts and practical tools you can use to initiate change in your practice today.

Physicians usually know exactly what tasks during the day are the “stupid stuff.” They are the ones that take up time, but don’t add any value to patient care and, in fact, take away from the time they could be spending with patients.

However, many physicians may not feel empowered to speak up unless they are asked. As highlighted in the playbook, the AMA “Getting Rid of Stupid Stuff” toolkit offers a step-by-step guide to create a comprehensive program to engage teams and clinicians in gathering information.

A de-implementation checklist is a good way to get your private practice started on purging some of the stupid stuff. Some of it may be easily eliminated, such as changing the automatic logout time for the EHR to 15 minutes and turning off automatic inbox notifications for copied test results other physicians ordered, and for test-order and scheduling confirmations.

Some unnecessary work might require more investigation, time and resources to eliminate, but is worth considering whether it makes sense for your private practice.

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STEPS Forward is part of the AMA Ed Hub™, an online learning platform that brings together high-quality CME, maintenance of certification, and educational content from trusted sources, all in one place—with activities relevant to you, automated credit tracking and reporting for some states and specialty boards.    Learn more about AMA CME accreditation.

Renewing a patient’s prescriptions at the same visit once a year could save you hours every week. The “Annual Prescription Renewal” toolkit teaches you, among other things, how to save up to five hours weekly by at the annual wellness visit writing patients with chronic conditions a 90-day supply that is filled four times a year.

The “Medication Management” toolkit details the steps to take to help optimize managing patients’ existing medications, including:

  • Adopting annual synchronized prescription renewals and standing orders to prescribe efficiently.
  • Streamlining the prescription drug prior authorization process.
  • Leveraging the EHR to confirm refill data.

There are ways to keep unnecessary messages out of your in-basket. And that could save you a significant amount of time daily given that studies show physicians can spend and hour or two daily to complete “between visit” clerical work.

The “EHR In-basket Restructuring for Improved Efficiency” toolkit will help keep unnecessary messages from being routed to your in-basket in the first place, guide you through establishing a centralized team in-basket and suggest ways to empower team members to meaningfully contribute to in-basket management.

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Learn how the “Patient Portal Optimization” toolkit can help you effectively manage the patient portal component of the EHR in-basket, including how an established workflow improves how the care team responds to messages.

It takes astute clinical judgement, effective collaboration with colleagues, and innovative problem-solving to succeed in an independent setting that is often fluid, and the AMA offers the resources and support physicians need to both start and sustain success in private practice.

Find out more about the AMA Private Practice Physicians Section, which seeks to preserve the freedom, independence and integrity of private practice.