One word that best describes how you work?
Current mobile device
What is something you are working on now?
An educational product to help elderly adults discover their risk factors for falls and use prevention strategies for fall prevention.
How did you come up with this Idea/Project?
Falls are the main cause of morbidity and mortality in older adults, we see this daily on shifts. Helping them reduce trip hazards and improve balance, proprioception, and strength can make substantial reductions in falls.
What’s your office workspace setup like?
Dual monitors (lots of open tabs!!) with all of the supplies I need within reach. My walls have calendars and lists of upcoming events as well as inspiring quotes and pictures that make me smile.
What’s your best time-saving tip in the office or home?
Taking the time and effort up front to get organized and systematized up front will save you a lot of time down the road! I have baskets for upcoming stuff, to-do lists (prioritized in order) at hand, and I color code things for ease of use. I also have a sheet of paper with each project I am working on (heading at the top) and when an idea comes to me, I add it on the paper. When I am ready to tackle the project, I captured all of the ideas and I’m ready to roll!
What’s your best time-saving tip regarding email management?
I am not glued to my inbox. Answering every ding is a distraction and can pull me away from other high-yield activities and take time with task switching. Setting aside time in the morning and afternoon to check emails protects my other productivity time from being interrupted.
What apps do you use to keep yourself organized?
Reminders and Anylist are the 2 I use most frequently. I also use the Notes app a lot to capture ideas for articles, talks, projects that come up when I’m on the go
How do you stay up to date with resources?
‘Reading’ is an important part of my schedule – whether that is a physical journal, a podcast, an audiobook, or strategic social media postings. Having time scheduled for this on a regular basis makes a difference in staying current! Also, utilizing ‘mindless’ task time, such as laundry, cleaning, driving, etc for audio content has been very helpful in remaining up to date.
What’s your best time-saving tip in the ED?
Be present with your patients and listen actively. Stay curious and ask questions. It seems more time-consuming at the moment but will save you lots of time down the road in missed diagnoses, patient complaints, lawsuits, and bad outcomes. That extra time with patients, in the grand scheme, not only make you a better clinician, it saves you a lot of downstream stress.
ED charting: Macros or no macros?
Yes macros! BUT don’t ever pre-enter a macro or have it tick off stuff you didn’t ask or examine. It is a slippery slope, don’t set a toe on it! My EMR also allows time-saving dot phrases, which I utilize frequently and again follow the firm rule don’t chart it until it happened.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about work, life, or being efficient?
Remove unnecessary stuff from your cognitive load so you can concentrate your mental energy on what is most important. I use a paper with patient stickers to keep track of who I’ve staffed. I use a 4-color pen to take notes as I ’round’ on my staffed patients so you don’t forget something when the next distraction arises. Memorize the important stuff for crashing patients and know what tools you can use to look up anything you need.
What advice would you give other doctors who want to get started, or who are just starting out?
Self-care isn’t selfish!! Make sure you get nourishing food, energizing exercise, restorative sleep, stress release, and meaningful connection in your life. A healthier you makes a better (and more patient!) doctor!
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers?
Concentrate on what is most important first, and that is patient care. The patient’s ‘wait’ clock starts when you leave the room. They are scared and unsure and waiting. Updating them makes a huge impact on their care and ensures you have all of the info you need for the best diagnostics and therapeutics. You should be going in the room multiple time, other than for the simplest cases.
Who would you love for us to track down to answer these same questions?
- Dr. Ryan McKennon DO, JD @RyanMcKennon
Read other How I Work Smarter posts, sharing efficiency tips and life advice.