“Family physicians often get asked to fill out patient documentation and other forms that should be handled by specialists or other health care professionals,” writes Mike Niziol, MD, of Dryden, NY. He has reduced his work after clinic by avoiding these tasks and putting responsibility for them where it belongs. Here are three types of paperwork he routinely redirects to other physicians or providers and how to do it:
• “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,” Niziol writes. “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.”
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