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    Strategies for making primary care practices more efficient


    Technology can help practices leverage team members more effectively, extend the primary physician’s “virtual” team and foster more seamless interactions with specialists.

    Orlowski cites a $7 million AAMC initiative sponsored by the Center for Medicaid & Medicare Innovation (CMMI) for electronic health record-based consults and referrals that connect primary care physicians to specialists, who can view patients’ medical records, specify tests, triage a patient visit or quickly reply to physician questions.

    By streamlining workflow, this program enables primary care doctors to care for a larger number of complex patients and make referrals to specialists when they are truly needed.

    Reduce admin time

    A team structure can help operationally in other ways. According to PwC Health Research, a major source of inefficiency in primary care practices is that physicians have to spend more than a third of their time and significant resources on administration.

    Andy Lazris, MD, a Maryland-based solo primary care physician, has successfully built and trained team of nurse practitioners who care for a patient panel of 2,000 patients, 75% of whom are geriatric patients with complex medical needs. 

    So Lazris joined an accountable care organization, which provides his practice with administrative guidance and additional resources.

    “That’s a great feeling after having to go at this alone for so many years,” Lazris says. 

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


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