Healthcare innovation

San Diego practice develops a 4-part plan…

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San Diego practice develops a 4-part plan…

While occupational burnout among clinicians is higher relative to the U.S. workforce, the American Medical Association and its research partners have been monitoring career disengagement through the COVID-19 pandemic, which the AMA says is at an all-time high.

But last year, the AMA recognized Children’s Primary Care Medical Group in San Diego, among 44 health systems cited for emphasizing professional well-being, for implementing a peer-support program and a well-being committee to address burnout.

The physician-owned pediatric practice serves more than 270,000 active patients at 29 practices in the region. 

It had already been working on redesigning its care team to help reduce pediatrician workload and administrative burdens when it engaged the AMA’s Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program this year, according to the national medical organization.

CPCMG turned to the AMA because it needed to formulate a plan to address burnout and measure its efforts.

“In pediatrics especially, the workload has not gone down, and the volume of illness has already reached winter volumes. Usually, there’s a lower level of illness in the fall,” said Dr. Genevieve Parsons, a pediatrician and director of clinician well-being at CPCMG, according to the story.

“This high volume of sick patients, and efforts to keep kids out of the ER, has likely only contributed to the increasing levels of burnout,” she said.

CPCMG took the association’s burnout survey in January. Follow-up, including meeting with the association’s leadership, helped shape the provider’s care team redesign effort as well as implement ways to track and measure if their efforts are working, according to Parsons.

CPCMG’s care team redesign plan has four parts:

  1. Improve well-visit efficiencies – CPCMG’s chief medical officer and director of nursing are identifying steps to improve the efficiency of the well-child check workflow – from scheduling to the actual visit.
  2. Identify complex patients – CPCMG’s chief medical information officer and the head of the IT team are working with care teams on creating a model to identify more complex patients.
  3. Enhance patient communications – Finding a better way to communicate is expected to help physicians and their teams free up the EHR in-basket to save time and improve patient care and care team experiences.
  4. Develop the ideal care team – This requires looking at staffing models to determine that team.

While some of the changes are long-term, “It’s a long process, and we’re looking for quick wins also to figure out how we can really make more of a difference sooner,” said Parsons.

She added that CPCMG is planning its next AMA survey for the first quarter of 2023 and will use the results and follow-up discussions to help guide strategy next year.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed extraordinary stress on physicians and other healthcare professionals,” Dr. Gerald E. Harmon, AMA president, commented.

“While it is always important for health systems to focus on the well-being of care teams, the imperative is greater than ever as acute stress from combatting the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to higher rates of work overload, anxiety and depression,” he said in the AMA story.

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Email: afox@himss.org

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.

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