Can a senior house officer's time be used more effectively?
OBJECTIVES: To determine the amount of time senior house officers (SHO) spent performing tasks that could be delegated to a technician or administrative assistant and therefore to quantify the expected benefit that could be obtained by employing such physicians' assistants (PA). METHODS: SHOs working in the emergency department were observed for one week by pre-clinical students who had been trained to code and time each task performed by SHOs. Activity was grouped into four categories (clinical, technical, administrative, and other). Those activities in the technical and administrative categories were those we believed could be performed by a PA. RESULTS: The SHOs worked 430 hours in total, of which only 25 hours were not coded due to lack of an observer. Of the 405 hours observed 86.2% of time was accounted for by the various codes. The process of taking a history and examining patients accounted for an average of 22% of coded time. Writing the patient's notes accounted for an average of 20% of coded time. Discussion with relatives and patients accounted for 4.7% of coded time and performing procedures accounted for 5.2% of coded time. On average across all shifts, 15% of coded time was spent doing either technical or administrative tasks. CONCLUSION: In this department an average of 15% of coded SHOs working time was spent performing administrative and technical tasks, rising to 17% of coded time during a night shift. This is equivalent to an average time of 78 minutes per 10 hour shift/SHO. Most tasks included in these categories could be performed by PAs thus potentially decreasing patient waiting times, improving risk management, allowing doctors to spend more time with their patients, and possibly improving doctors' training. (+info)
Bridging the quality chasm: integrating professional and organizational approaches to quality.
Current Western health care practices face the challenge to improve their quality on multiple dimensions simultaneously. This requires new ways to think about how to deliver health care services. A careful and 'flexible' standardization of care into 'care programs', we argue, is central. Yet such standardization is powerless without the application of four additional design principles: a thorough restructuring and delegation of tasks, the application of integrated planning, the use of indicators about the functioning of the care programs, and implementing process-supporting information technology. Vice versa, these additional principles can only function properly when integrated with care programs. We will only be able to improve the safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, and timeliness of health care, while reducing costs and improving equity, by integrating professional and organizational approaches to quality. This paper describes a series of interrelated design principles that together depict how future health care delivery could be organized. (+info)
Allied restorative functions training in Minnesota: a case study.
In 2003, the Minnesota Dental Practice Act was modified to allow dental hygienists and assistants to place amalgam, composite, glass ionomer, and stainless steel crowns. The concept of utilizing allied professionals to perform expanded functions has been suggested as a way to increase access to care and productivity. A continuing education course was offered to provide required certification for interested dental practitioners (N=12). The objectives of this study were to examine confidence levels and effectiveness of the continuing education program. Pre- and post-course restorative content knowledge, along with confidence levels in knowledge, technical skills, and the ability to implement skills were measured. A matched pairs t-test found a significant increase in participants' restorative content knowledge (p<.001). Wilcoxen signed rank tests revealed an increase in confidence in all content knowledge (p<.01) and technical skill (p<.05) categories. Participants did not significantly increase in confidence to implement restorative functions skills into practice (p<.7). Interview data revealed that participants remain unclear about ways to incorporate restorative functions into the schedule. Findings in this case study suggest that content knowledge and confidence levels increase following completion of a restorative functions course. To improve education and training, research is needed to identify why participants' confidence in implementation did not increase. (+info)
Use of cutaneous lasers and light sources: appropriate training and delegation.
In recent years, there has been increasing concern among physicians, patient advocacy groups, and media watchdogs that laser, light, and cosmetic surgery are being practiced by poorly trained professionals, with resulting preventable injuries to patients. In response, several professional organizations have developed guidelines for the delegation of laser services to nonphysician providers. These guidelines delineate appropriate qualifications for delegating physicians and nonphysician providers, and also describe the circumstances and settings in which delegation is appropriate. (+info)
Substitution of specialized rheumatology nurses for rheumatologists in the diagnostic process of fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial.