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Perceived Inefficiencies Rife in Primary Care

Inefficiencies reported in activities that occur pre-visit, during visits, post-visit

WEDNESDAY, March 25, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Primary care practices have multiple perceived inefficiencies in activities that occur pre-visit, during visits, and post-visit, according to an article published in the March-April issue of Family Practice Management.

Katherine A. James, Ph.D., from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, and colleagues surveyed a diverse group of 13 practices to examine what technologies and methods they had adopted to improve practice efficiency and which common workflow issues they had experienced.

The researchers found that almost every practice had so many perceived inefficiencies that they didn’t know where or how to start addressing them. The inefficiencies were grouped as activities that occur pre-visit, including appointments and schedules, patient phone calls, and insurance eligibility verification; inefficiencies during the visit, including practice layout, communication, and delegation and staffing; and post-visit inefficiencies, including medication refills, dealing with third-party payers, and managing test results. Barriers to achieving efficiency in primary care practices included capital, return on investment, and physician resistance.

“Our project was not intended to develop evidence-based best practices for improving efficiency in primary care but rather to fill a knowledge gap in the literature,” the authors write.

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