New staffing model prompts 18% EHR time reduction for Intermountain physicians

To help combat physician burnout driven by EHR data entry, Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare developed a new team-based staffing model that provides physicians with greater in-room support for clerical work, according to a Jan. 30 American Medical Association report.

The model, which was based on the team-based care work of Green Bay, Wis.-based Bellin Health and the University of Colorado in Denver, expands the role of medical assistants and designates a ratio of five staffers for each two physicians.

Six months after implementing the program, Intermountain experienced a 20 percent increase in patients seen per day and a 29 percent rise in generated relative value units. The total time physicians spent in the EHR decreased by 18 percent, with order time and documentation time falling by 47 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

Physician burnout improved 50 percent following the new model implementation, jumping from a 2 rating to a 5 rating, with 5 indicating the viewpoint of: "I rarely experience burnout from my work."

"One of the best things for me about being involved in the pilot was to be able to peel away from the computer and look my patients in the eye," said Jason Howell, MD, a family physician at Intermountain, according to the report. "The communication with my patients is much better and feels so much more natural."

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