Use EHR tools to facilitate this work. Using standard templates and documentation tools helped CTCs develop the confidence needed to thrive in their new role. Knowing these tools were available helped CTCs become effective in helping the team manage the between-visit work.
Monitor workload. As we developed more workflows and processes, we took care to monitor the amount of additional work for those in this role. We offloaded work whenever possible. For example, coordinated refill management at time of service, coupled with a back-up centralized refill system, can significantly decrease the number of refill requests made to CTCs. We continue to adjust staffing, where appropriate, to provide adequate support for those in this valuable role.
Be prepared for turnover. As CTCs became empowered in their new roles, some decided to advance their training into other roles. We developed a plan for replacing and training new staff. Higher pay can also be used to help attract and retain these staff members. Bellin uses LPNs in this role to ensure adequate staffing. Other health systems have developed a tier system for CMAs to improve retention.
Before our move to an aTBC model, our office RNs primarily managed phone triage. Now the nurses were enlisted to play a more active role in patient care and team leadership. Although it was a dramatic departure from prior responsibilities, the majority of Bellin’s RNs have found increased satisfaction in taking on direct patient care.
Define new roles and provide training. In addition to participating in acute patient visits, consider ways that care team RNs can expand responsibilities as they pertain to disease counseling, population health management, and team leadership.15 At Bellin, the expanded role of the RN is evident in diabetes education and Medicare AWVs. Specifically, RNs now provide diabetes education to appropriate patients following a warm handoff from the physician at the time of the visit. RNs now also complete Medicare AWVs, which frees up physicians for other tasks and helps ensure sustainability for the new RN roles. Rates of completed AWVs at Bellin are now more than 70%, compared with reported national rates of less than 30%.16
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