Good article on how to maximize the team concept and get the most from medical assistants to help you add more to your bottom line....train them well...and the return is a much happier and productive staff too, so everyone gains with teamwork and proper training. BD
With primary care reimbursement steadily dropping, having assistants do more of the clinical spadework is a cost-effective option to consider. You'll need to know how to get started, how team-based care works, and what some experts say about it.
Peter B. Anderson, a family physician in Newport News, VA, has three part-time nurses and a medical assistant—the equivalent of two full timers—who do nothing but take patient histories, document encounters, and teach patients to follow his treatment plans. These staffers cost a lot more than the single MA who supports the typical doctor. Yet in the four years since Anderson implemented "team-based care," he's seen his productivity—and his income—soar.
Within a year, he was seeing 30 patients a day. Meanwhile, he hired two MAs and trained one of them to interview patients. By the next year, his daily count was 35 to 40, and his gross revenues had gone from less than $400,000 to $580,000. Despite the extra cost of the two MAs, Anderson now earns $240,000 a year, $100,000 more than in 2002—and he goes home earlier.
When Anderson comes into the exam room, the nurse or MA hands him an EHR-generated list of current problems, meds, and lab results, and summarizes the patient's symptoms and history. The doctor follows up with the patient as needed, then conducts the physical exam while the assistant documents his findings and recommended treatment. The assistant spends another two to five minutes on patient education, while Anderson moves on to the next patient.