By Mick Connors, M.D., Founder and CEO
Whether your pediatric practice serves an urban population, a rural population, or something in between, your patients (and prospective patients) likely face barriers to accessing healthcare. In addition to commonly cited barriers, like limited appointment availability, geographic barriers are plentiful from Houston to Hazard (Kentucky) and from Las Vegas to Lavonia (Georgia).
Geographic barriers can include things like lack of public transportation, extreme weather conditions, challenging roadways (i.e. construction zones, winding backroads, etc.), and long distances between home and “town.” Regardless of those most commonly experienced by the parents and children your office or clinic serves, when a patient needs to get to you, but can’t, there is risk:
- Risk #1: The patient simply goes without medical care, which can prove catastrophic in some circumstances.
- Risk #2: The patient delays care, which can result in costly emergency room visits and/or preventable hospitalizations.
- Risk #3: The patient seeks advice from Dr. Google or other unreliable online sources.
- Risk #4: The patient may seek care at a clinic that is convenient but does not have pediatric expertise.
Telemedicine solutions like Anytime Pediatrics, which connect your patients to you (their trusted pediatrician), can help. In addition to being affordable, easy to implement and easy to use on the provider side, many of your patients (kids and their Millennial parents) want and expect a virtual care option. Consider this: Research from The Advisory Board shows 77% of patients want access to virtual care. Similarly, 76% of patients prioritize access to care over the need for an in-person visit with their provider, says the American Hospital Association.
With a technology tool like Anytime Pediatrics, that mother with a demanding work schedule who’s chronically late for appointments (because city traffic and long-running meetings at the office just don’t mix) finds relief. She simply:
- Registers for a free Anytime Pediatrics account via our website or app – or logs into an existing account.
- Shares some basic information, including:
- Name and contact information
- Health insurance provider and policy number (optional)
- Your name and contact information, so that we can route the appointment request appropriately
- Payment information
- Sets up her child’s profile, sharing:
- His / her name, birthdate, gender, height and weight, and about any allergies, current medications, and medical conditions
- Why care is being sought, with an option to upload photos that may be helpful in diagnosing and / or treating the child
Then, with a quick click of the “Submit” button, an appointment is requested; a virtual visit takes place shortly thereafter. The child receives the quality care he/she deserves. Mom is happy (and far less stressed). And your schedule keeps humming along without the chaos that late arrivals create.
A telemedicine solution can be equally powerful and helpful for that rural grandparent who lives 18 miles away from the clinic and doesn’t want to navigate winding backroads with a sick grandchild (who’s far better off staying in bed). Virtual care can make life easier and better for everyone.
So, winter weather is coming and, for many of us, nuisances like traffic and construction only seem to be getting worse, are you ready to learn more? Let’s connect and manage those geographic barriers to quality care together.