HealthDay News — Shifting primary care practice toward a shared-care model for work distribution and responsibility can improve professional satisfaction, according researchers.

Christine A. Sinsky, MD, from Medical Associates Clinic and Health Plans in Dubuque, Iowa, and colleagues made site visits to 23 high-performing primary care practices to investigate how these practices distribute functions among the team.

They also looked at how the practice’s used technology to their advantage and data to improve outcomes to make providing primary care feasible and enjoyable as a life’s vocation. The findings are published online in the Annals of Family Medicine.

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The researchers identified several innovations that mitigate physician burnout and increase clinician satisfaction, including:

  • Incorporating proactive planned care, with pre-visit planning and pre-visit laboratory tests
  • Sharing clinical care among a team, with expanded rooming protocols, standing orders, and panel management
  • Sharing clerical tasks with collaborative documentation (scribing), non-physician order entry, and streamlined prescription management
  • Improving communication by verbal messaging and in-box management
  • Improving team functioning through co-location, team meetings, and work flow mapping.

“Our observations suggest that a shift from a physician-centric model of work distribution and responsibility to a shared-care model, with a higher level of clinical support staff per physician and frequent forums for communication, can result in high-functioning teams, improved professional satisfaction and greater joy in practice,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Sinsky CA et al. Ann Fam Med. 2013;11(3):272-278.