Joy In Practice program implemented in first specialty practice

The Joy in Practice program recently concluded a successful six-week pilot in a specialty practice, Northeast Medical Group Urology in Fairfield.

Data from physicians' monthly scorecards, Press-Ganey scores, pain assessments, and provider and staff input helped identify areas for improvement, including:

  • Identifying the need for providers, nurses and medical assistants to “huddle” every day before seeing patients.
  • Defining employees' roles and how they can be best support providers.
  • Determining what tasks could be done prior to patients' visits (obtaining labs, test results, etc.).
  • Establishing a protocol for more effectively managing "walk-in" patients and emergencies.
  • Setting up efficient "Pools" in Epic.
  • Improving the handling of In Basket messaging.

The Joy In Practice initiative has already resulted in more effective processes and improved workflow for the urology practice. For example, the team recommended the practice develop a "triage" team of registered nurses and one highly skilled and experienced medical assistant. Every day, one designated person helps the entire staff handle the medical calls and problems requiring immediate attention.

The triage team quickly demonstrated how it could provide fast patient care. Shortly after the program started, the practice received an urgent call from an elderly patient’s spouse. The patient was confined to bed and needed rapid intervention. The message was sent to both the triage team and the on-call doctor. Within 10 minutes, the call had been returned, medication was prescribed and labs were ordered.

Additionally, the Joy In Practice program resulted in more efficient procedures for ordering injectables and optimizing Epic use.

“I believe that the Joy in Practice program was a success. By targeting specific workflows, I have noted the staff has been collaborating very effectively with increased emphasis on teamwork and efficiency. Overall the program has been a significant asset to our office,” said Matthew Wosnitzer, MD.

The staff at the practice had the following thoughts about the Joy in Practice program:

  • "The triage assignment is working out well. Our In Baskets are being addressed and completed daily. We now have open slots in our schedule for emergencies and walk in patients."
  • "I have seen an improvement in scheduling for same day appointments and walk-ins. The staff is amazing and works through any difficult situation."
  • "One of our biggest assets has been having triage available for medical problems. It takes away pressure from doctors and staff that are working on their daily tasks. We can now count on our triage nurses to help out with all emergencies."

Everyone at the practice would like to thank the Joy In Practice team, including Krista L. Giacopassi, practice optimization manager; Michael Connolly , MD; Cambria Sammartano, practice optimization specialist; and Candise Smith, associate director of practice operations.

(l-r): Maureen Alves, RN; Alyssa Ballaro, MA; Cambria Sammartano, practice optimization specialist; Candise Smith, associate director of practice operations; Diane Sidoriak, practice supervisor; Matthew Wosnitzer, MD; Lara Kokenos, PA; and Carrie Connelly, PSA II. Missing: Steven Kardos, MD.