How to optimize physician time

To find—and eventually minimize—wasted physician time, conduct a "time motion" study on each doctor's practice style. Begin with noting the start time of each identifiable doctor task. That includes chart review in the hall, entering the examine room, greeting and chatting with the patient, history review, conducting a physicial exam, and more.

Time each task and chart the elapsed time. Allocate each time to one of following three time categories:

  • Doctor time—Tasks requiring a physician's unique knowledge and expertise, or presence to establish effective rapport with his or her patient
  • Delegable time—Tasks physicians could delegate to support staff
  • Wasted time—Needless tasks caused by inadequate communication systems, unavailable staff, and/or poorly designed space

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