CT meditates: a comedy (15). Chris Sinsky and AMA steps forward



I am loving the website that the American Medical Association has built, called “Steps Forward.” For years we have struggled to help docs run their clinics more efficiently, reduce waste, improve workflows. This is of course, under the rubric of “I hate the EHR; get that CT Lin guy to come out here and fix this (#$*&# EHR.”

When our team gets there, we often find an internal mess of tangled workflows, duplicated tasks, inefficient and inconsistent handoffs, etc. We end up spending MOST of our time on re-engineering their office, with some attention paid to changing a few tools in their EHR, developing some preference lists and smartphrases. Most of the work is team-building, huddles, shared decision-making.

Christine Sinsky MD, the self-styled “VP of Joy” at the AMA (what a title!) has helped construct an amazing, free resource called Steps Forward (link above) that I highly encourage everyone to visit. It is a step-by-step guide on improving DOZENS of workflows for hardworking physicians in all specialties.

I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Sinsky recently, and we had a great discussion about the many strategies of combining EHR optimization with provider burnout, some of which I’ll get to discuss more here.

The modules linked above are to Physician Burnout in particular, but browse the entire site for such common sense advice as: ensuring that patient prescription renewals can be fulfilled by non-physician staff; with a protocol, you can minimize rework and get patients to follow-up appropriately. Also, having labs drawn PRIOR to appointment eliminates the “how to notify the patient: phone, letter, online?” because you can actually discuss the results IN PERSON instead! Amazing.

OK, lets return to our breath today. Remember: those coming on the journey: 3 minutes of meditation every day! I’m holding both of us accountable to this important habit!

CMIO’s take? Lots of smart people out there working hard on Physician Burnout. What are you and your organization doing? And breathe people, breathe.

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, UCHealth (Colorado); Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

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