Saving Time Playbook - icon

Unnecessary tasks have introduced a heavy burden into the daily workload of physicians and other clinicians and contribute to physician burnout. Electronic health record (EHR) systems and associated tasks, in particular, have created significantly more work for physicians.

This section will help you save time by:

  • Eliminating unnecessary tasks and duplicative work
  • Streamlining prescribing and management of prescriptions for chronic illnesses
  • Optimizing aspects of the EHR for physicians and care teams

Saving Time Playbook

Access key STEPS, best practices and resources for the adoption and scale of time-saving solutions.

Getting rid of "stupid stuff"

Physicians themselves are often in the best position to recognize the "stupid stuff" in their day-to-day but may not feel empowered to speak up unless asked. A simple program throughout your practice to solicit suggestions for change can be a powerful timesaving tool.

Annual prescription renewal & medication management

Managing the care of patients who take multiple medications creates a conundrum for the already overburdened clinician: during a brief visit, how do you fill or refill medications efficiently, reconcile all medications and ensure that patients are taking them as prescribed?

EHR in-basket management

Many aspects of the EHR are burdensome for physicians and care teams. A recent study found that physicians spend almost half of their day on the EHR and desk work. Even during the patient visit, physicians spend 37% of the time in the room on these tasks. In addition, physicians are spending long hours before and after clinic to complete this "between visit" clerical work. For some physicians, this can add up to an extra 1 to 2 hours of work every day.


Standardize and streamline practice fundamentals, or core workflows, for all parts of the patient care process to save time during and between visits. This involves workflows before the visit (pre-visit planning, pre-visit laboratory testing), during the visit (expanded rooming and discharge protocols, team documentation), and after the visit. These workflows can mean the difference between a clinic where a physician and the team are floundering and frustrated and a clinic that runs smoothly with the capacity to handle any unanticipated issues that arise.

This section will help you save time by:

  • Using the current visit to prepare for the next
  • Working as a team to increase efficiency of rooming and discharge
  • Documenting the visit as a team

Pre-visit planning and pre-visit laboratory testing

Preparing for the next visit while the patient is in the exam room makes planning future visits a more efficient and transparent process for patients and clinicians.

Expanded rooming and discharge protocols

Physicians alone cannot do all the work needed for most office visits. Expanded rooming and discharge protocols are standard work routines that enable other team members to take on additional responsibilities.

Team documentation

Team documentation, also referred to as "scribing," is a process where other team members assist during a patient visit to document visit notes, enter orders and referrals, and prepare prescriptions. This process improves patient-centered care as the physician is less focused on EHR documentation and can have a more meaningful interaction with the patient.


It has been said time and again: saving time saves money. With the support of organization leadership, the timesaving measures described in this Playbook have the potential to:

  • Reduce the number of physicians who decrease their clinical effort to part time, which may result in increased burnout for their colleagues
  • Improve overall patient volume and access, thereby increasing patient satisfaction and quality of care
  • Increase team engagement using team-based care approaches, which translates into improved team morale, better continuity of care, higher performance on quality metrics, and decreased turnover for staff members
  • Improve organizational culture, which may lead to easier recruitment of new physicians and team staff members when needed
  • Reduce physician turnover within the organization (replacing a physician who leaves can cost 2 to 3 times their salary)

This section will help you save time by:

  • Identifying key messages to convey to organizational leaders to help them understand the value of physicians’ time
  • Providing simple calculators to make your case

Download the Saving Time Playbook (PDF) to access key STEPS, best practices and resources for the adoption and scale of time-saving solutions.

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