A much larger area of responsibility for the front staff is now pre-visit planning. We previously had the clinical staff doing this, but changed it to the front. The employees look at the upcoming appointments for the next week, and enter directly into the “chief complaint” if the patient is due for any health maintenance testing. The provider can quickly see if the patient is due for a mammogram, DEXA scan, HgbA1C, diabetic eye exam, colonoscopy or urine for microalbumin test and hopefully get it ordered at that visit, even if the visit is for an acute problem.
TRENDING ON OUR SITE: It's about time PCPs say enough is enough
Other quality metrics being targeted by CPC+ include mental status testing on patients with memory loss and follow-up testing on patients with a diagnosis of depression. CPC+ would like all patients with memory issues to have a yearly screening. If due, this will be entered into the chief complaint by the front staff, so the clinical staff can perform a mini-mental status exam before the patient even sees the doctor. Regarding depression, if a patient has been into the office and carries the diagnosis, the goal for CPC+ is to have the patient’s PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire with 9 depression related questions) at five or under after treatment. Again, the nursing staff will see the need for the repeat PHQ-9 and have it done when the provider enters the room so it can be addressed.
Obviously, the days of searching for missing paper charts and filing charts are long gone. The front staff has more important tasks to accomplish that directly impact the quality of care that our patients are receiving. Meeting our quality metrics would be impossible without a team effort. The front staff does a remarkable job in contributing to our ability to provide more individualized and enhanced care. They not only help record the required metrics, but also aide in reaching the quality goals set by CPC+. A big thank you to them for helping us help our patient population!