Extensive new guidance from the American Medical Association aims to reduce physician burnout rates by offering a range of ways to redesign a practice that can ease day-to-day burdens, including improved use and satisfaction of health information technologies.

The guidance supports a new AMA initiative called STEPS Forward. It starts with 16 modules, each of them addressing specific practice challenges with implementation tips, case studies, videos, and other tools and resources. Core health IT guidance covers five steps to improved electronic health records software selection and purchase, 10 steps to better EHR implementation and tips on identifying hardware needs, among other issues.

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For instance, the 10 EHR implementation steps detail creating the implementation team, configuring software, identifying hardware needs and ways to use the hardware to save time and money, transferring data, optimizing pre-launch workflows, considering exam room layouts for optimal EHR placement to aid physician-patient collaboration, initiating training, deciding whether to launch incrementally or with a “Big Bang,” developing procedures for when servers go down, and developing mechanisms for ongoing learning.

Some of the hardware tips, for instance, cover having a printer in each exam room to save 30 minutes of physician time each day and having a large monitor in every room to save 20 minutes, as well as providing each worker their own laptop or tablet to carry from room-to-room which cuts the time spent logging into systems.

Other guidance modules cover conducting effective team meetings and creating a stronger team culture, expanding rooming and discharge protocols, panel management, pre-visit laboratory testing, synchronized prescription renewals and team documentation, among others.

The AMA expects more than 25 modules being available by year-end; revenue cycle management is coming soon. The STEPS Forward guidance is available here.

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