How the Austin-based multi-specialty group deployed Elaborate to eliminate a top pain point for clinicians.
Austin Regional Clinic (ARC) is one of the largest multi-specialty medical groups in Texas, serving over 500,000 patients per year across 12 different cities. They currently employ over 2,000 practitioners and staff, who collectively support 1.2 million patient visits per year.
With a diverse and multilingual patient population, ARC is known as a market leader in delivering friendly, attentive, and inclusive health services and digital experiences for their patients.
The advent of web-based patient portals in 2000 was a game-changer, offering patients a direct line to their clinicians. However, this innovation created a new, unexpected challenge for clinicians: the inbasket.
The clinical inbox became a bottleneck, accumulating hundreds of emails, messages, and patient queries daily, transforming from a tool for streamlined communication to a draining administrative burden for healthcare practitioners.
Already overwhelmed, the system broke over the early COVID-19 crisis, as an unprecedented surge in patient messages doubled the workload overnight, overwhelming primary care physicians and diverting precious time from patient care.
Today, the inbasket devours hours meant for clinical care. This shift has pulled clinicians away from face-to-face patient interactions, as well as materially impacted practitioner burnout. Clinician burnout soared and the turnover rate increased by 43%.
As a physician-led organization, Austin Regional Clinic (ARC) is commonly recognized as a top place to practice medicine. The system’s leadership has made significant investments to empower its 400+ clinician team through robust tools, streamlined processes, and a supportive culture.
In 2022, addressing surging inbasket volumes became a top priority for ARC. Despite implementing automated triaging through Epic and establishing a nursing triage team with homegrown response protocols, the inbasket remained a major source of clinician burnout. Clinicians spent up to 56 minutes daily triaging the inbasket, with many spending time in Epic in between visits, in the evenings and weekends to ‘catch up.’ Roughly half of the messages coming to clinicians were related to blood work.
Did you know: The inbasket impacts your wait times. Clinicians with higher than average inbasket messages volumes are associated with 40% increased probability of burnout and 38% increased probability of reducing clinical hours. (Source)
Dr. Naik, ARC's CMO and CMIO, observed that most of the traditional solutions to manage the inbasket were geared toward reacting to the current volumes rather than tackling the underlying causes driving the surge in patient messaging.
With the increasing market validation and confidence in clinical intelligence technologies, Dr. Naik saw a partnership with Elaborate as an opportunity to cure the inbasket problem, once and for all.
Elaborate is a clinical intelligence technology that healthcare organizations and their clinicians use to prevent inbasket messages.
Our technology automates a written summary of what a patient’s lab results mean and what to do next. As Elaborate is directly embedded into the EMR (in this case, Epic), the technology references the patient’s full clinical history, including diagnoses, medications, and previous results to contextualize the most recent result.
By proactively providing patients with clarity and education, patients no longer need to reach out to their clinician for clarification. If there is a clinically significant finding that warrants a conversation, the patient will be connected with their care team. The seamless EMR integration gives clinicians the confidence and peace of mind to know what’s being communicated to their patients, and that it aligns with their recommendations.
In 2023, Austin Regional Clinic streamlined the lab results workflows and addressed clinician burnout and patient access challenges by implementing Elaborate through white-glove onboarding. The Elaborate onboarding experience included a tailored pilot structure, continuous feedback loop, rigorous ongoing data migration and analysis, seamless integration to ARC’s Epic instance and MyChart portal, and an optional clinical review to ensure alignment between Elaborate’s clinically verified algorithm and ARC’s specific clinical protocols.
“Preliminary results are hugely promising! Very exciting.”
— Dr. Manish Naik
Elaborate and ARC’s partnership shows incredible early success via reduced pajama time, unscheduled time in inbasket, and clinical alignment rate:
- Burnout Mitigation: 13% average reduction in daily pajama time and 28% reduction in unscheduled time, contributing to a more balanced workload.
- Clinical Agreement Rate: 88% agreement representing that crucial information was accurately represented and reducing the risk of oversight.
- Regulatory Compliance: Notate ensures compliance with CURES regulations, facilitating the immediate direct release of health data to patients without disrupting clinicians' routines.
This case study highlights the swift impact Elaborate’s technology offers your team within mere weeks.
In the early stages of our partnership, we prioritize clinician ease-of-use and adoption, tailoring the technology precisely to your workflows, clinical protocols, and patient population. This approach speaks volumes: 88% of summaries require no post-ordering revisions within just 5-6 weeks of go-live. Prioritizing our clinical users' experience quickly builds trust, ensuring they confidently leverage the software to its maximal potential.
Further out, clients see an up to 35% reduction in inbasket volumes for clinicians within just six months, providing immediate relief to both clinicians as well as understaffed call centers and nursing triage lines.
If your health system is grappling with inbasket challenges, it’s time to pivot toward a proactive solution. Schedule a consultation with an inbasket specialist today to learn more about the transformative change Elaborate can drive for your team's efficiency and well-being.