Seven Habits for Reducing Work After Clinic

Sumana Reddy, MD; FAAFP, Peter Rippey, MD, CAQSM; Arnold Cuenca, DO, CAQSM, FAAFP; Sumi Sexton, MD; Troy Fiesinger, MD, FAAFP; Kenneth G. Adler, MD, MMM; Brandi White


Fam Pract Manag. 2019;26(3):10-16. 

In This Article

Use Previsit Planning

Previsit planning can help you walk into each patient visit with all of the necessary information on hand, organized, and ready. It can take many forms, but there are two essential components.

  • Previsit labs and X-rays: Where possible, anticipate at the current visit what will be needed at the next visit and pre-order those labs or X-rays so the patient can obtain the needed tests a week ahead of the next visit in most cases. This ensures the results will be available for you to discuss with the patient at that visit and factor into care planning. This can save you time you would otherwise spend reviewing charts between visits or having staff contact patients to figure out what tests are needed, playing phone tag about test results, and searching for results during visits.

  • Visit prep: Have your medical assistants (MAs) do a quick review of the patient's record on the day of the visit (or the day before) to see what needs he or she may have and what prep work can be done. Creating prep sheets for common conditions can be helpful. For example, a diabetes prep sheet can help MAs identify which lab orders to set up ahead of time, which immunizations might be needed, and so on. A sample diabetes prep sheet can be downloaded from the online version of this article at

"If the next exam room isn't ready and you have a spare five minutes, find a task you can knock out quickly. Teach your team to do this as well."

(For more information on previsit planning, see "Strategies and resources.")