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Efficiency & Time Management in Clinic
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Got time? A lot of our resident listeners have been asking for tips and tools for time management in the clinic. Dr. Nikki Southall joins Paul and Neda for a conversation about typical time sinks, some great time management tips, and strategies for becoming more efficient at work.
- Some tips for time management as a primary care provider in clinic:
- Visit prep
- Documentation (not perfect, during the visit)
- Batching tasks
- Delegating tasks to team members
- Before visit prep - review the chart, see what labs are due, remind yourself of the last visit what you talked about, create your agenda
- Different providers will do this at different times (the day before, the visit before, two weeks before)
- Agenda-setting - “What’s on your agenda today?”
- Will vary by patient but some sort of framing of the visit is helpful to keep the visit from expanding
- Getting all the issues out at the beginning with open-ended questions like “What else?”
- Remember that we have time to get through the list, so we don’t have to fit everything into the visit
- Documentation -
- Set up the room so that you can document and talk at the same time
- If possible document during the visit
- Making initial eye contact is crucial to establishing that connection
- Let go of the perfect prose and verbose notes → bullet points are just fine
- Leave breadcrumbs for yourself like a list at the end of your note with items for the next visit
- Outside of clinic -
- Plan ahead about when you’ll have time to get things done so you don’t have to bring so much work home
- Try to do as much as you can in the office
- Pick your priorities and be disciplined about setting boundaries
- Set small time frames of working on a particular task (ie: from 10-11am working on inbox from patients)
- Batching - do the same type of work in bundles (ie: emails, notes, labs)
- Delegate work where appropriate to other team members
- Kleshinski O, Dunn TG, Kleshinski JF. A preliminary exploration of time management strategies used by physicians in the US. Int J Med Educ 2010; 1:47-54 ISSN: 2042-6372. DOI: 10.5116/ijme.4c23.117d
- Gordon CE, Borkan SC. Recapturing time: a practical approach to time management for physicians. Postgrad Med J 2014;90:267–272. doi:10.1136/postgradmedj-2013-132012
- Jackson VP. Time management: a realistic approach. J Am Coll Radiol 2009; 6(6):434 - 436.
- Caverly TJ, Hayward RA, Burke JF. Much to do with nothing: microsimulation study on time management in primary care. BMJ 2018; 363 :k4983.