QHow can I be more efficient when seeing patients?

Nina Copeland, APRN, FNP-C, CANS

Nina Copeland, APRN, FNP-C, CANS


None of us ever want our patients to feel rushed or like they aren’t getting the best medical care possible. Sometimes the demand of patients needing dermatology services can be overwhelming. Here are some things we have implemented into our practice that have helped us more efficiently see patients while still giving great care.

Templates. We made templates for our most common disease states. These are used for when the patient is doing intake with the medical assistant, during the visit and for charting and billing purposes. We have a template for psoriasis, acne, isotretinoin, skin cancer check/full body exam, wart and biologic patients. These have greatly decreased the time it takes us to room a patient and to chart the entire visit.

Delegate. I have three medical assistants and I would not be able to see the volume of patients I see in a day without their assistance. What tasks you can delegate to your medical assistant or nurse varies by state so check your state laws.

Patient education handouts. Sometimes when a patient really has a lot of questions, and it becomes apparent the patient needs more of my time then I have allotted I will offer them a handout and ask them to go home and read it and think of all their questions and write them down and come back at my next available appointment to answer those questions. I will often make this “questions and answers” time a virtual visit. We have educational handouts for how to get biopsy results, how to care for stitches at home, tips for swelling and bruising post injections, hair loss, warts, dry skin, seborrheic dermatitis and many more. I keep them in folders in the exam rooms and grab what I need for the patient. I would venture to say every single patient goes home with some sort of education sheet which decreases time verbally educating the patient or reiterates what the education was in turn decreasing call backs.

Do it right the first time. Who wants to go back into a room because the patient “forgot something”? Not me, I always ask the patient what else they would like to talk about before leaving the room and stay seated during that time so that they feel comfortable to ask anything. This will save time to the overall day.

Just remember your time is precious and so is the time of your patients so let’s make the most of it during the dermatology office visit!