Implementation of a Quarterback Team Can Reduce Electronic In-Basket Volume for Primary Care Physicians

06-20-2022 23:58

Background: Electronic health records (EHR) have brought medical charting into the modern era. However, since their introduction, they have led to a whole new set of issues; inefficient message management, bloated electronic in-baskets (IB), and increased stress/workload.​
Objective: To develop a novel physician-led Quarterback (QB) team to effectively reduce IB workload for primary care physicians (PCP) and to measure its impact on message management and physician well-being.​ Methods: A team composed of a QB physician and 3-4 RN/LVNs was tasked to address patient messages for all adult PCPs at a large primary care group practice. IB patient telephone messages were managed by team nurses using standard protocols. They were instructed not to re-direct any messages back to the PCP IB but to address any questions with the QB physician, who offered real-time guidance, while also primarily managing IB web messages.Total patient message volumes and staff phone message turn-around times (TAT) were measured at the intervention site and compared to a Control site, comparing pre-pilot and post-pilot data.​ Results: Average monthly physician messages decreased significantly at QB site vs Control (31% vs 18%). In the intervention (QB) group, there was a significant 33% reduction in average message TAT during the pilot period while the Control group showed no significant change. Physician satisfaction with the QB pilot was high and showed improved wellness scores by self-rating.

Author(s):John T Tran, MD, Payam Sazegar, MD, Davida Becker, PhD, Emily Chou, MD
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Uploaded - 06-20-2022

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