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Ann Fam Med. 2013 May-Jun;11(3):272-8. doi: 10.1370/afm.1531.

In search of joy in practice: a report of 23 high-functioning primary care practices.

Author information

1
Medical Associates Clinic and Health Plans, Dubuque, Iowa 52001, USA. csinsky1@mahealthcare.com

Abstract

We highlight primary care innovations gathered from high-functioning primary care practices, innovations we believe can facilitate joy in practice and mitigate physician burnout. To do so, we made site visits to 23 high-performing primary care practices and focused on how these practices distribute functions among the team, use technology to their advantage, improve outcomes with data, and make the job of primary care feasible and enjoyable as a life's vocation. Innovations identified include (1) proactive planned care, with previsit planning and previsit laboratory tests; (2) sharing clinical care among a team, with expanded rooming protocols, standing orders, and panel management; (3) sharing clerical tasks with collaborative documentation (scribing), nonphysician order entry, and streamlined prescription management; (4) improving communication by verbal messaging and in-box management; and (5) improving team functioning through co-location, team meetings, and work flow mapping. Our observations suggest that a shift from a physician-centric model of work distribution and responsibility to a shared-care model, with a higher level of clinical support staff per physician and frequent forums for communication, can result in high-functioning teams, improved professional satisfaction, and greater joy in practice.

KEYWORDS:

burnout; health care delivery; health services research; organizational innovation; patient care team; patient-centered care; personal satisfaction; physician; primary health care; professional

PMID:
23690328
PMCID:
PMC3659145
DOI:
10.1370/afm.1531
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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