Empowering Clinical Support Staff Boosts Patient Health Outcomes

CHALLENGE

Forward-thinking leaders at a regional health clinic recognized that the trend toward value-based care would be disruptive to their mission and finances. Though many of their providers faced burnout from long hours, patient access for acute visits was limited and panel screening rates were subpar. The company believed that transforming the exam room process could improve patient health outcomes by way of better patient access and increased provider focus on the patient’s care.

However, management knew from experience that lasting transformation can be elusive. Therefore, it asked Team Care Medicine (TCM) to help with this problem.

ENGAGEMENT

Over the course of three months, TCM developed a customized TCM Model™ transformation program to strengthen the company’s primary care practices. All aspects of the company’s system were considered, ranging from staffing levels to workflow processes to facility constraints to EHR settings to provider incentives.

Once the plan was developed, TCM worked with each provider-led team to transform the patient visit. Over the next three months, the Medical Assistants (MAs) were trained to practice up to the limit of their license as Team Care Assistants (TCAs). Their role in each patient visit expanded to cover many new tasks, including the collection of initial patient data as well as chronic disease screening and management.

In parallel, providers learned to become team leaders that delegate non-physician tasks, relying more heavily on their newly empowered and expanded support staff. With greater team efficiency, they were able to take on additional visits each day and to provide higher quality care.

IMPACT

Within the nine months, the TCM Model transformation accomplished the following:

  • Increased panel screening rates for diabetes (+10%), cervical cancer (+8%), and colorectal cancer (+6%), pointing toward measurable long-term health gains

  • Increased visits per hour by 28.5%, reflecting better access for patients

  • Ensured all charts were complete at the end of each shift, reducing error rates

  • Reduced provider after-hours work by 75%, greatly improving job satisfaction and provider work/life balance

  • Received enthusiastic endorsement from management, providers, and staff