Team documentation is a way to reduce physicians’ administrative burdens so they can focus on patient care. It involves increasing the MA-to-provider ratio, often from 1:1 to 2.5:1, and expanding the MA's scope of practice to include a more robust rooming process that generates a preliminary history of present illness (HPI) and in-room documentation support (i.e., scribing).
How do you convince your practice to try it?
1. Point to success stories. For example, after piloting team documentation for 12 months, the AF Williams Family Medicine Center in Denver saw significant improvement in its clinical quality measures such as colon cancer screening (12 percent increase from baseline), breast cancer screening (46 percent increase), and hypertension control (13 percent increase). Providers reporting symptoms of burnout decreased by half, from 56 percent to 28 percent. And visit volume increased while access improved, particularly for new patients.
2. Show me the money. Many practices find that the efficiencies of team documentation allow them to add one to two visits per provider per half-day session, which can offset the additional staff costs. Practices should also factor in any downstream revenue (from tests, procedures, admissions, etc.) that their added visits generate for their organization.
3. Start small. Pilot team documentation with a single site, or with a few willing staff. It will take some practice, so give it time. Then, modify your approach based on what you learn and gradually expand it as it proves its value.
Read the full FPM article: “A Team-Based Care Model That Improves Job Satisfaction.”
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