As a patient, it’s in your interest to be cared for by a physician fully satisfied in his/her practice. Happy docs achieve higher quality scores, provide better customer service to their patients, and concentrate harder on the task at hand – perhaps your surgery! This relationship between professional happiness and customer outcome has been described in many industries.
So you might wish to know what attributes of a physician’s practice to look for. In the current issue of The Annals of Family Medicine, researchers from Boston, Iowa and San Francisco answer that question for adult primary care practices (Sinsky CA, Wilard-Grace R, et al. In Search of Joy in Practice. Ann Fam Med 2013;11:272-278). Their findings of the five (5) critical components of a highly fulfilling practice are no surprise to our physicians:
#1 ProActive Planned Care: Our population-care nurses and care managers reach patients in need of preventive screening or attention to their chronic conditions. Our physicians order lab testing be done in the days prior to the patient’s visit, empowering shared decision-making in the exam room, highly satisfying for both patient and physician.
#2 Sharing Clinical Care Among a Team: Our Permanente Practice employs ProActive Office Encounter (POE), a collaborative nursing process of ensuring all patient needs will be met and care-gaps closed during today’s visit. All team members (MA, LPN, RN, Behavioral Health Practitioner, Pharmacist, MD) make unique and valued contributions to the care of all patients, expediting the care and recovery of patients. We also have an active and successful nurse-advice service for our patients.
#3 Sharing Clerical Tasks Among a Team: our Proactive Office Support (POS) nursing staff handle the non-physician parts of the workflow for medication refills, school/camp/work forms.
#4 Improved Communication: through our redesigned process known as EDGE, the duration of time that lapses between an inbound patient-call or patient-email to the outbound resolution has been cut in half in many departments. We’ve improved our co-location of physicians and advice-nurses in many departments as well, an important aspect of practice satisfaction (and efficiency) the researchers found.
#5 Improved Team Functioning: team meetings answer the question “what’s working well; what needs changing?”, necessary to continuously enhance quality, workflow and efficiency (better care and less waiting for you!); we have a team-learning curriculum that leads to the elimination of holes in processes (“Highly Reliable Team Training”); team huddles in the morning anticipate individual needs of patients and team members. Our practice engineers make our healthcare very safe and easier to navigate for our patients.
We are proud of our primary care physicians and their patient-centered practices – they lead to happy docs … the fuel that generates the best service and quality for you.