If you’re looking for ways to streamline patient visits and improve efficiency, consider “team rooming,” which reverses some traditional roles in the exam room. Here’s how it works.
When the patient arrives, the front-desk staff gathers the patient’s demographic information, verifies insurance, and provides any forms needing completion. The front-desk staff also prints out a one-page general intake form that the MA will use to take notes during the visit. The MA picks up the intake form, greets the patient, and escorts him or her to the exam room.
The physician is already waiting in the exam room, has the electronic health record (EHR) open, and has loaded a progress note template. After greeting the patient, the physician explains that the MA will be asking some initial questions while he or she listens, records the information, and formulates additional questions.
Using the intake form and pre-visit checklists, the MA takes the initial history, reconciles medication, confirms any allergies, takes vitals, and reviews any needed preventive services. The physician records this information in the EHR and enters orders for tests, referrals, or office procedures if needed.
The MA then leaves the exam room and goes back to his or her desk to begin working on the physician’s orders while the physician performs the clinical exam. Once the exam is completed, the MA comes back to take the patient to any needed tests or procedures while the physician completes the assessment and plan and readies the exam room for the next patient.
This process effectively eliminates wait time for patients because the physician is already in the exam room when they arrive and reduces redundancy because patients only have to provide their information and agenda once. The real-time charting also means that by the end of the visit, most of the note is complete and there is much less work waiting for the physician at the end of the day or on weekends.
Read the full FPM article: “Rethinking Workflow: Team Rooming for Greater Efficiency.”
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