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    Strategies for making primary care practices more efficient

    Build a ‘dream team’

    Primary care practices can become more efficient by training “dream teams” of various professionals such as physician assistants and nurses to extend physician capacity. “There are a lot of routine needs that don’t necessarily require a physician,” says Edward Salsberg, MPH, a research instructor at The George Washington School of Nursing.

    Salsberg says the needs of the chronically ill and elderly will continue to stress the healthcare system and go beyond what can be provided by physicians.

    “Bringing in an inter-professional team structure can allow physicians to practice at what they do best,” says Janis M. Orlowski, MD, MACP, chief healthcare officer, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

    Integrating professionals such as nutritionists, occupational therapists and social workers on the team can improve patients’ health and ability to function and can enable more efficient delivery of preventive care that helps keep patients healthy and out of the hospital.

    Use tech for leverage

    Investing in shared electronic health records and data analytics can help segment patients, assign resources and design customer experiences that enable primary care practices to maintain continuous engagement at various care touch points, rather than interacting with patients on sporadic visits.

    Wendy Wolfson
    Wendy Wolfson is a contributing author for Medical Economics.

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