Doctors are known for working long and grueling hours. A huge part of their days is spent on healthcare facilities, making rounds to treat and attend to patients almost round-the-clock.
Aside from the sheer number of patients, doctors also have tons of paper works, meetings, and consultations they need to fulfill.
If you’re wondering how doctors remain productive despite working long hours each day, you must also keep in mind that there are healthcare staff—such as nurses and therapists—who are tasked to diligently follow a doctor’s treatment plan for various patients.
The assistance of these healthcare professionals makes it possible for most doctors to see various patients day in and day out.
A doctor must also be diligent, self-disciplined, and efficient to perform various responsibilities.
Below are five more ways how doctors maximize productivity on the job:
1. Utilize Mobile Medical Carts
With the advancement of technology, many aspects of the medical profession evolved. Patient information are already logged digitally, making it easy for various medical professionals to retrieve patient history whenever they need it.
It’s no secret that doctors have to go from one hospital wing to another just to check patients and follow-up treatments. Tech-savvy doctors have learned to invest in mobile medical carts that allow them to bring medical records, devices, and healthcare necessities from one hospital area to another.
A mobile medical cart consists of a computer (or digital tablet) and compartments that can store various medical essentials and tools. With a computer on wheels, doctors can speak with patients while directly inputting pertinent data.
Direct and real-time input can save doctors a lot of time when it comes to paperwork. And instead of taking an extra bit of time to document appointments and write prescriptions, a doctor can directly input all these to the hospital’s system where nurses can be informed of any changes and updates.
With adjustable features, these mobile workstations don’t take up much space and can be used by all doctors.
2. Minimize Administrative Work
The main responsibility of a doctor is to treat patients and save lives. However, what many people don’t know is that doctors also perform administrative work behind the scenes.
Again, this includes paperwork, meetings, or consultations with hospital management, insurance partners, and other stakeholders.
In a study, doctors spend an average of 8.7 hours each week on administrative tasks. Although administrative work is essential, the accumulated time that doctors spend doing these tasks can sometimes hinder them from performing actual healthcare services.
To minimize administrative work, many doctors take advantage of digitalized systems. However, inputting data in these systems also takes time.
For efficiency, most of these administrative works are passed on to healthcare staff. Many doctors hire personal secretaries and assistants that can take care of the bulk of paperwork and record-keeping on their behalf.
3. Plan Efficient Workflow With Staff
Problems can happen, even in low-risk medical settings. A single emergency can sometimes require doctors and nurses to go overtime just to stabilize a patient.
Consequently, this can cause a staff shortage, and many might be called in to take care of other patients that also need treatment.
To stay productive, doctors usually plan their day ahead and involve their staff in the process. An efficient workflow and schedule are usually created to ensure that all patients get the proper care and treatment they need.
This is also the reason why hospitals have a triage system—where patients who need emergency care will be referred to life-saving units right away.
Many doctors also delegate clerical tasks to a secretary. A healthcare secretary usually tracks appointments and reminds patients of their scheduled consultations, surgery, and laboratory procedures.
A secretary also helps doctors plan out their hours efficiently and ensure that there are no conflicts in patient schedules.
4. Set Priorities
Even in medical school, doctors are trained to maximize time and determine their priorities for the day. Typically, doctors would prefer to start their day by consulting or accepting new patients.
Before noon, most doctors make the rounds and check the progress of their confined patients. Surgeries are usually scheduled ahead of time.
Knowing their priorities helps doctors work faster and more efficiently. It also avoids idle and unproductive time since a to-do list is already being set.
This is important for doctors because every ticking minute is essential in saving lives. Having a list of tasks avoids doctors from fiddling with their phones or browsing social media endlessly.
5. Proper Delegation
Many doctors are known to go the extra mile for their patients. They feel that it is their personal responsibility to see to it that a patient gets the right treatment and will eventually recover from their condition.
However, with the sheer number of patients that need treatment each day, it is not sustainable for a doctor to personally attend to each of their needs. That’s where nurses and therapists come in.
Doctors sometimes forget that these healthcare professionals can also monitor patients on their own—resulting in them being overworked for spending too much time on every patient.
Often, doctors tend to be control freaks and would prefer to do the job themselves if they feel that they can do it better and much quicker. However, this does more harm than good.
For a doctor to stay productive, they must learn the art of delegation. Many medical procedures can be done competently by nurses, therapists, and caregivers.
This includes taking and recording blood pressure, vitals, and taking laboratory samples. In addition, record-keeping can be delegated to a secretary who can keep tabs on each patient’s history.
With proper delegation, doctors can have more time to help patients and attend to more urgent matters.
Doctors are usually overwhelmed with patients and administrative tasks. Certainly, it’s not easy to be in charge of another person’s life and safety. To help more patients, doctors have no recourse but to work longer hours.
Aside from that, they have to maximize their time and effort to offer competent care to every patient.
To stay productive, many doctors utilize new technology to streamline record-keeping and digitalize paperwork.
Aside from that, they act as team leaders and streamline procedures with their staff, work on an efficient schedule, set priorities, and delegate tasks to other healthcare staff. In all, a highly productive doctor can save more lives.