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. Winter 2013;17(1):26-30.
doi: 10.7812/TPP/12-010.

Improving Efficiency and Reducing Administrative Burden Through Electronic Communication

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Free PMC article

Improving Efficiency and Reducing Administrative Burden Through Electronic Communication

Katlyn E Cook et al. Perm J. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Background: The InBox messaging system is an internal, electronic program used at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, to facilitate the sending, receiving, and answering of patient-specific messages and alerts. A standardized InBox was implemented in the Division of General Internal Medicine to decrease the time physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners (clinicians) spend on administrative tasks and to increase efficiency.

Methods: Clinicians completed surveys and a preintervention InBox pilot test to determine inefficiencies related to administrative burdens and defects (message entry errors). Results were analyzed using Pareto diagrams, value stream mapping, and root cause analysis to prioritize administrative-burden inefficiencies to develop a new, standardized InBox. Clinicians and allied health staff were the target of this intervention and received standardized InBox training followed by a postintervention pilot test for clinicians.

Results: Sixteen of 28 individuals (57%) completed the preintervention survey. Twenty-eight clinicians participated in 2 separate 8-day pilot tests (before and after intervention) for the standardized InBox. The number of InBox defects was substantially reduced from 37 (Pilot 1) to 7 (Pilot 2). Frequent InBox defects decreased from 25% to 10%. More than half of clinicians believed the standardized InBox positively affected their work, and 100% of clinicians reported no negative affect on their work.

Conclusions: This project demonstrated the successful implementation of the standardized InBox messaging system. Initial assessments show substantial reduction of InBox entry defects and administrative tasks completed by clinicians. The findings of this project suggest increased clinician and allied health staff efficiency, satisfaction, improved clinician work-life balance, and decreased clinician burden caused by administrative tasks.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Clinician tool rank importance of inefficient tasks. CV/REAIMS = curriculum vitae/Research and Education Academic Information Management Systems; OS = outside; OSM = outside material; Rx = prescription.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Pareto diagram of highest-rated clinician dissatisfiers, Mayo Clinic Division of General Internal Medicine. Cum = cumulative; CV/REAIMS = curriculum vitae/Research and Education Academic Information Management Systems; OSM = outside material; Rx = prescription.

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