PRACTICE PEARLS

 

Fam Pract Manag. 2019 Jul-Aug;26(4):35.

REDUCE TIME SPENT DOING OTHER PHYSICIANS' PAPERWORK

Family physicians often get asked to fill out patient documentation and other forms that should be handled by specialists or other health care professionals. Here is how I have avoided these tasks, which reduces my work after clinic:

  • If a home health agency asks me to sign the nursing orders for a recently discharged patient of mine who I didn't know had been hospitalized (often for a hip replacement or other surgery), I ask who ordered the nursing care and then recommend the agency contact that person. I explain that the ordering physician or other provider is more familiar with the patient's case and should have that responsibility. I add that I can assume responsibility once I see the patient again and become familiar with his or her care.

  • If a cardiologist is managing my patient's atrial fibrillation with warfarin, I make sure that physician is also managing the patient's international normalized ratio testing. Some have complained, but they generally acquiesce when I point out that I shouldn't have to manage the labs when I am not handling the underlying condition.

  • If a patient sees a specialist for a disability, I do not fill out the disability papers. I point out that the specialist can best determine the extent of the patient's disability, likelihood of recovery, need for future care, etc.

SEND PREVENTIVE SERVICE REMINDERS ACCORDING TO BIRTH MONTHS

When managing population health efforts, such as reminding patients to schedule preventive services like physicals, Pap smears, or colon cancer screenings, send out your reminders according to the patients' birth months. This can help to more evenly distribute demand for these types of appointments throughout the year rather than sending

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Practice Pearls presents readers' advice on practice operations and patient care, along with tips drawn from the literature. Send us your best pearl (250 words of less), and you'll earn $50 if we publish it. We also welcome questions for our Q&A section. Send pearls, questions, and comments to fpmedit@aafp.org, or add your comments below.

 
 

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