Automate Your Broken Record Moments to Get Home Sooner

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

patient flow physician stress broken record optThe “Broken Record Method” to Get Home Sooner

STOP #PhysicianBurnout

In this article I will show you how a “broken record” can help you
~~ lower your physician stress levels
~~ and get home sooner without working harder ... permanently.

It starts with this question …

Do you ever feel like a broken record in the office?

You know the old vinyl albums we played back in the day on a phonograph with a needle. Sometimes they would skip and play the same thing over and over. Do you ever feel like that in your office week?

You are either saying the same thing over and over again to your patients OR
Entering the same thing into the medical record multiple times in your day ?

Every time you get stuck in this cycle your work flow comes to a complete halt while the clock just keeps on ticking.

Not only that, this “broken record” repetition can be a major source of physician stress — because what you are doing does  not require the skills and experience of a physician at all. You didn’t become a doctor for this.

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Most doctors describe these broken record moments as infuriating.

Rather than clench your jaw and growl the next time you feel like a broken record
… let me encourage you to do something else instead.

SMILE. Here’s why …

Broken Record Moments are magic points of practice automation. When you deal with broken record behaviors properly you will get home sooner, without working harder ... permanently.

You transform the broken record into better patient flow by automating and/or delegating the repeated activity. In my work with over stressed doctors, we have found the broken record typically occurs in two areas.

=> Patient education

=> Documentation

[ Click Here for a video version of this lesson ]


1) The Patient Education Broken Record

This occurs when you have a small number of diagnoses that make up a significant portion of your practice. You find yourself interrupting your patient flow to educate the patient on what to do and/or what to expect with this problem … over and over and over again. It is a classic broken record AND completely unnecessary.

FIRST just make a list of your patient education broken record moments. Write them all down. Ask your staff to add the broken record moments they are noticing to the list. Everyone has broken record moments. We want to help the whole team be more effective. here.

NEXT, prioritize the list and pick one. I suggest you start with an easy one first as you perfect your automation system. 

Keep the list in a safe place and automate just one of these broken records each week.

You will be amazed how quickly you will be getting home sooner when 2 or 3 of your broken records are fixed. 

Three Patient Education Solution Options:

a) Make a handout with the broken record information on it. Put some of your personality and your specific tips and tools in there. Print it on colored paper so that your instructions stand out from the sheaf of other white papers our patients take home from every office visit … most of which have to do with insurance or billing.

b) Delegate this patient education to a staff member. You train them on what to say and how to say it – perhaps with a handout as in step #1. Once you have seen the patient and made the diagnosis and it is clear that this patient education topic is the next step … call your patient educator into the exam room and kick patient flow back into gear by moving on to the next patient.

c) High Tech: Shoot a video of you doing your broken record patient education. Load your patient education videos onto and iPad or Laptop or your own YouTube channel. When the patient education is the next step in the patient flow, hand the patient the video player and start the video for them. Tell your nurse they are watching the video and to check in with the patient in a couple minutes while you move on to the next room. You may want a handout to go with these videos as well.



2) The Documentation Broken Record

This is when you find yourself typing the same note over and over into your EMR in free text. 

  • A Documentation Broken Record Moment is SCREAMING for a Template.
  • Don't get MAD ... get Fully TEMPLATED

Two quick questions:
How many times do you have to make a Template?
How many times can you use that Template?
When you go from free typing to using a Template do you have to Work Harder?

TEMPLATES are get-home-sooner Magic Weapons

Make a template once and get home sooner - without working harder - from that point forward.

FIRST make a list of your documentation broken record moments. Write them all down. Bigger is better here. Clean house. Ask your staff to add their broken record moments to the list. Everyone has broken record moments. We want to help the whole team be more effective. here.

NEXT, prioritize the list and pick one. I suggest you start with an easy one first as you perfect your automation system below. 

Invest just 30 minutes a week to template just one of these broken records and you will be amazed how quickly you will be getting home sooner. 

You will learn to love the broken record when you realize how quickly it can automate important parts of your practice.

Design your templating system

Pick a broken record encounter off your list.

Sit down with the person in your group has the reputation of being an EMR Power User. Tell them you want to build a custom template and have them show you how it is done. Then set yourself up a template that is something you would be proud to see in your chart notes.

Make this baby yours and set it up so it takes just a keystroke or mouse click to drop it into your chart note.

This may take an hour the first time through. It will take much less as you march through your list. I have seen it turn a 5 minute typing exercise you do 12 times a week into a single keystroke for each of those patients. What a difference.

What is at stake here?

Think about just a single broken record encounter you see multiple times a week or that one diagnosis where you end up saying the same thing over and over to the patient AND documenting the same thing over and over and all the ways it disrupts patient flow.

With the one-two punch of patient handout and a documentation template you can kick start patient flow again and save 5-10 minutes per patient … WITHOUT sacrificing a lick of patient satisfaction or quality of care.

Multiply that times 3-4 times a day and it becomes clear that you will dramatically improve patient flow, lower your physician stress and get home earlier once you take these broken records on in your office.


PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT and tell us the first broken record encounter you will be taking on to improve patient flow and lower the physician stress in your practice.


Here’s today's lesson video from our Burnout Proof Online Workshop Video Training Library.

This is just one of over 75 short training videos to help you take your practice back.
Learn more and see the full Library at This Link




Tags: stop physician burnout