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Patients Before Paperwork
An ACP initiative to reinvigorate the patient-physician relationship by challenging unnecessary practice burdens.
ACP has long identified reducing administrative complexities or burdens as a priority. Ongoing actions to achieve this goal have included developing and maintaining related policy, participating in various efforts to work to alleviate specific regulatory and insurance requirements, and eliminating other unessential tasks that detract from patient care and contribute to physician "burn-out."
In March 2017, ACP published a foundational set of policy recommendations on reducing excessive administrative tasks. "Putting Patients First by Reducing Administrative Tasks in Health Care: A Position Paper of the American College of Physicians" provides a cohesive framework for identifying and evaluating administrative tasks and outlines detailed recommendations to reduce excessive administrative tasks across the health care system.
Additionally, in October 2017, ACP published a paper titled "Promoting Transparency and Alignment in Medicare Advantage." This paper calls on Medicare Advantage plans to increase transparency and align their processes, policies, and procedures in order to reduce excessive and burdensome administrative tasks.
ACP Strategies for This Initiative
- Identify and prioritize which complexities are of the top concern for ACP members and their patients.
- Educate ACP members, other physicians, consumer advocates, and policy makers on what makes up administrative complexities, including the intent of the requirement and how the complexity impacts patients and physicians.
- Implement the most effective advocacy, stakeholder engagement, and practice support approaches to help mitigate or eliminate the top priority complexities and to help ACP members (and other physicians) address those complexities that cannot be eliminated.
- Achieve results that reduce physician burn-out, help restore the joy of practice, and reinvigorate the patient-physician relationship.
What ACP Is Doing
Policy Development and Education
- "Promoting Transparency and Alignment in Medicare Advantage," American College of Physicians, published October 2, 2017.
- “Putting Patients First by Reducing Administrative Tasks in Health Care: A Position Paper of the American College of Physicians,” Annals of Internal Medicine, published online first March 28, 2017.
- "Clinical Documentation in the 21st Century," Annals of Internal Medicine, published online first February 17, 2015.
Feedback to Regulatory Agencies, Congress, and Other Key Stakeholders
Comments and Responses to Regulatory and Legislative Requests
Direct Outreach to Relevant Organizations
- Letter to CMS Supporting "Patients Over Paperwork" and "Meaningful Measures" Initiatives
- Letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
- Letter to Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.
- Letter to America’s Health Insurance Plans.
- Letter to Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
- Letter to HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association.
- Letter to Medical Device Manufacturers Association.
- Letter to Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.
Collaborations with Other Stakeholders
- Collaborating with key regulatory agencies, including CMS and ONC, to update regulations and policies to reduce excessive administrative tasks.
- Collaborating with ACP’s Physician Wellness Taskforce to align ACP’s broader efforts to promote physician wellness.
Tools and Services Offered by ACP
- Reducing Adminstrative Burden Basics – slides and handouts that can be used at local ACP Chapter meetings and educational opportunities
- ACP Practice Advisor® - modules can help with achieving recognition as an alternative payment model (e.g., PCMH, PCMH-specialty practice), quality improvement work, and practice management.
- ACP Physician & Practice Timeline® - summary of upcoming important dates related to a variety of regulatory, payment, and delivery system changes and requirements; sign up for text alerts from the Timeline by texting ACPtimeline (no space) to 313131 from your mobile phone.
- AmericanEHR - educational and informational resources contributed by ACP and partners concerning EHRs, from selection to implementation, and health IT.
- High Value Care Coordination Toolkit - provides resources to facilitate more effective and patient-centered communication between primary care and subspecialist doctors.
- ACP Website - Practice Resources section - resources address:
What You Can Do to Help
We are asking you to provide direct input into this work via a new online data collection tool. This tool allows you to enter either an administrative task or a best practice (i.e., approach to dealing with an administrative task—this could be one you are using already or a new idea), and entries will be added to the Administrative Tasks and Best Practices Library.
This tool ultimately will serve as a means for physicians to communicate administrative pain points with ACP staff, share best practices and innovative ideas with each other, and help inform the creation of additional tools and services.
You may also contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or discuss these issues in the Member Forum on Promoting Physician Well-being and Professional Satisfaction (ACP Membership required).
- Tell us about your ideas to address administrative tasks.
- Send in specific examples or vignettes explaining how these tasks have had an impact on your ability to care for a patient.
- And finally, how can ACP best serve you to address these issues?