How a health system removed 'pebbles in the shoe' from its EHR

One health system eased physician burnout by removing "pebbles in the shoe" from its EHR, the American Medical Association reported.

Atlanta's Southeast Permanente Medical Group, part of Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, reduced its burnout rate from 48% in 2022 to 43% in 2023 by removing inefficiencies and annoyances from its EHR, according to the Feb. 13 story.

As part of its "Pebbles in the Shoe" campaign, Southeast Permanente asked staffers to submit ideas to lower their documentation burden, the AMA reported. The organization got 163 submissions in the first year, including changing the workplace's email culture and setting up an automated Fast Pass waiting list for patients to sign up for canceled appointment slots.

"Many of the pebbles we received were related to IT — things like our EHR," Reneathia Baker, MD, associate medical director for people and culture at Southeast Permanente, told the AMA. "That's when we had an 'Aha!' moment that we needed someone on our wellness committee who understood the complexities and could help solve those problems."

Southeast Permanente added a member to the committee with IT and care transformation experience, according to the story. The organization has since been deploying artificial intelligence and ambient listening to streamline charting and identifying ways to lessen patient portal "in-baskets."

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