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Doc ApprovED: Software Turns Reminders from Stress into Zen

Mohseni, Alex MD

doi: 10.1097/01.EEM.0000527808.69811.d9
Doc ApprovED

Dr. Mohseniis an emergency physician in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. He is the founder ofwww.CMElog.organd the editor of his own blog, http://CreativeHealthLabs.com. Follow him on Twitter @amohseni, and read his past columns athttp://bit.ly/EMN-DocAPProvED.

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I am concerned about how little we have done to make the job of being an emergency physician easier and less stressful. As if trying to remain a good clinician were not difficult enough, providers are inundated with an onslaught of emails reminding them about new protocols, recredentialing, renewing licenses and DEAs, missing signatures, mandatory compliance courses, scheduling issues, contract updates, meetings, CME issues, and so on.

Often these emails are sent en masse to an entire group of providers, even those who have already completed the task, creating a reciprocating onslaught of messages from the providers, “I thought I did that already. Can you check?” This wastes an inordinate amount of office and provider time, and creates unnecessary confusion and stress.

And try keeping up with the continuous stream of updates and new requests if you are credentialed at several hospitals; that is even more overwhelming. As I have said before, email is the enemy; it was not designed to be a task manager.

Thankfully, other industries, as usual, have faced the same challenges and solved this problem. Enter Zendesk. (https://www.zendesk.com/.) This software was originally designed as a tool to help businesses manage customer service requests, but Zendesk at its core is ticketing software. Your hospital uses ticketing software too: When your ED's printer malfunctions, you call hospital IT and then they create a ticket that is visible and tracked until your issue is resolved.

The same software can be used by ED groups to manage the tasks that each provider needs to complete. This way, each provider can log in and see his outstanding tasks, and each office department can see which providers are lagging and send specific reminders to them automatically. No more scrolling through your email, hoping that you didn't miss a critical item.

Having a complete and reliable list of outstanding issues promotes peace of mind, happiness among providers, and efficiency.

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