Healthcare Practice Strategies – Spring 2012 - Tips for Dialing Down Distractions

Busy healthcare providers face an avalanche of daily distractions - nearly five disruptions an hour, according to a 2011 study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. 


  • Dial down smart-phone distractions. As more and more doctors rely on mobile devices - for both clinical and personal uses - the potential for distractions is rising. Fine-tune your device’s notification settings to distinguish work-related from nonclinical communications so that professional matters (incoming test results, pharmacy requests, etc.) are prioritized ahead of others.
  • Screen electronically. You’re probably already letting voicemail catch all non-emergency phone calls, but how about creating an auto-responder for email/voicemail? Use this to let others know when you will be available.
  • Manage the crush of pharmacy reps. Consider using scheduling software such as RepConnect, which alerts reps to register online and self-schedule their office visits based on your parameters.
  • Bundle up. With non-urgent issues, have your staff “bundle up” matters and approach you with several things at once at a designated time. When they have non-emergency access to you only at a pre-determined time, your staff will learn to save non-urgent issues until then.
  • Use the fax. Faxed communications (between pharmacies, hospitals, home care agencies, etc.) minimize telephone interruptions and phone tag. Ask your staff to place faxes on top of the next patient’s chart so you can address them between patients.
  • Create "No interruption" zones. Use colored tape, tile or a small rug to clearly indicate designated area where interruptions are not allowed. And then use this area to perform critical tasks (charting, order entry, dispensing, etc.)

Healthcare Practice Strategies – Spring 2012 

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