A Team-Based Care Model That Improves Job Satisfaction
Expanding the role of medical assistants to better support providers can improve not only traditional outcomes but also job satisfaction.
Fam Pract Manag. 2018 Mar-Apr;25(2):6-11.
Author disclosures: no relevant financial affiliations disclosed.
Burnout and job dissatisfaction pose a significant threat to primary care. Less than one-third of family and internal medicine physicians report they would choose the same specialty again,1 and one-third of health care employees report they are planning to look for another job.2
The factors contributing to burnout and dissatisfaction are many, including the use of electronic health records (EHRs), demand to see more patients, and change fatigue as practices reshape the way they deliver care consistent with the “Triple Aim” (improved population health, enhanced patient experience, and reduced cost). One study found that physicians spend only 27 percent of their time providing direct, face-to-face care to patients and almost half their time on the EHR or desk work.3 Delivering all of the appropriate preventive, chronic, and acute care to a standard primary care panel has proven to be impossible for a single physician, requiring an estimated 21.7 hours per day.4 Suboptimal access, poor outcomes, and escalating burnout, frustration, and early retirement are not surprising when providers shoulder most of this burden.
As a result of these pressures, the “Quadruple Aim,” which adds provider and staff satisfaction to the Triple Aim, has been proposed as a more sustainable approach to improving health care. To achieve the Quadruple Aim, leading primary care organizations are exploring advanced team-based strategies such as team-based documentation, previsit planning and testing, an expanded scope of practice for medical assistants (MAs) and nurses, team-based motivational interviewing and coaching, and delegation of certain elements of chronic disease care, preventive care, medication reconciliation, refills, and acute care to staff using standardized protocols. These strategies are designed not only to reduce provider burnout but also to reduce staff burnout by ensuring that they can grow professionally and engage more intimately in patient care.5 Beyond reducing burnout, delivery models that rely on a high-functioning team have become essential given rapid increases in medical information and more prevalent chronic disease.6
When our health care system places too much burden on providers, we should not be surprised at the result: suboptimal access, poor outcomes, and escalating burnout.
Increasing the MA-to-provider ratio to 2.5:1 and expanding the role of MAs throughout the patient visit can help practices achieve the “Quadruple Aim.”
This team-based care model increased visit volume and patient access, improved clinical quality, and cut provider burnout in half.
Referencesshow all references
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2. More than one-third of employed health care workers plan to look for a new job this year. CareerBuilder website. https://cb.com/2C7tnfb. April 30, 2013. Accessed February 12, 2018.
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6. Mitchell P, Wynia M, Golden R, et al. Core Principles & Values of Effective Team-Based Health Care. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 2012.
7. Magill MK, Lloyd RL, Palmer D, Terry SA. Successful turnaround of a university-owned, community-based, multidisciplinary practice network. Ann Fam Med. 2006;4(Suppl 1):S12–S18.
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