How to Increase Length of Time Spent with Patients

What doctors and patients need is more time, not more technology. —Malcolm Gladwell

Physician burnout has become an epidemic. One of the main reasons for burnout cited by physicians is the amount of time that is required to do administrative tasks, which limits the time they can spend with patients.

In fact, recently Annals of Internal Medicine published a study in which 57 physicians were observed directly for 430 hours. The study found that physicians spent 27 percent of their office day on direct clinical face time with patients and spent 49.2 percent of their office day on EHRs and other desk work.

When in the examination room with patients, physicians spent 52.9 percent of their time directly talking with patients and 37 percent of their time on EHR and other desk work.

In another recent survey of over 17,000 physicians across the U.S., only 13.9 percent said they have the time they need to provide the highest standard of care.

Patients who believe they’ve spent more time with a doctor are more satisfied with their visits and more inspired to follow the recommendations their doctor makes.

Here are some tips that can help physicians increase the amount of time they spend with each patient:

Delegate

Many doctors are accustomed to delegating certain tasks to their staff, like reporting lab results to patients, getting prior authorizations, or calling in prescription refills.  However, many physicians still perform too many administrative tasks that could be handled by their staff. A simple strategy is to ask your team to be on the lookout for things you are doing as the doctor that they could take off your plate and complete instead.

Utilize a virtual scribe

A Virtual Medical Scribe is essentially a personal assistant to the physician; remotely performing documentation in the EHR, gathering information for the patient’s visit, and partnering with the physician to deliver the pinnacle of efficient patient care.

Physicians who utilize Virtual Medical Scribes are able to increase the time spend 5-7 additional minutes with each patient.

Utilize a patient scheduling platform

Utilizing a patient appointment reminder software like Captera, Televox, or Solution Reach to name a few, can help a clinic minimize no-shows and cancellations. This helps your clinic run more efficiently, reducing the need to overbook appointments and ensuring adequate time with each patient.

Electronic patient screening

Insurance providers are increasingly covering patient-directed screenings that can be completed at home before their visit. Patients are increasingly technologically savvy and are comfortable using technology to answer questions.

Utilizing electronic patient screening programs reduces the workload for physicians, allowing the patient visits to be more constructive.

Consider a concierge model

Many physicians have diversified their practice outside of the traditional insurance-pay paradigm. Since patients are paying a yearly enrollment fee, doctors are not beholden to only the doctor-patient office visit as a source of revenue.

Implement ancillary programs

Ancillary programs allow physicians to offer more services to their patients, so the care is more comprehensive. Plus, the additional revenue generated from ancillary programs afford physicians to spend more time with each patient.

 

For more information about any ancillary programs, speak with your Every Ancillary Practice Consultant.