Death by In-Basket: Could the In-Basket Virtualist Save Us?

Dale Gold MD

The healthcare industry has a history of creating new roles and responsibilities to meet evolving needs. One example is the hospitalist position, which was created in the mid-1990s to address the growing complexity of inpatient care and to allow PCPs to focus on outpatient care. Similarly, maybe a new role of the in-basket clinical virtualist can address the growing complexity of virtual inboxes and digital communication, allowing PCPs to focus on direct patient care.

The in-basket clinical virtualist would manage the virtual inboxes of PCPs, leveraging advanced tools and technologies to prioritize messages, alert PCPs of urgent matters, and facilitate efficient communication between patients, PCPs, and specialists. They would lead a multidisciplinary team working at the top of scope to yield even greater efficiency. By offloading administrative tasks to a dedicated virtualist, PCPs can reduce the risk of medical errors, decrease physician burnout, and spend more time being doctors.

Maybe the inbasket clinical virtualist is one potential answer to the challenges faced by PCPs in managing their digital communications. It offers a way to reduce the burden of virtual inboxes, allowing PCPs to focus on providing high-quality care to their patients. While there may be big questions about funding and ROI, it is clear that an in-basket clinical virtualist would present a transformative option to revive primary care job satisfaction.

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