There may be a lull between the excitement of the winter holidays and the anticipation of flowers blooming, but the same is not true of stomach bugs and respiratory viruses. Mid-winter is riddled with children passing viruses, prompting more parents to place calls to pediatric offices.
The current healthcare shortages have made it difficult for office staff to keep up with the demand of returning patient calls and finding appointment slots in already overbooked provider schedules. It’s incredibly stressful for parents to call for an office visit, only to discover they’ll have to wait days for an in-person appointment. This delay causes many parents to take matters into their own hands and proceed to an urgent care or emergency room for evaluation.
These unnecessary urgent and emergent visits have a negative impact on families, patients, and the healthcare system. Patients are at an increased risk of contracting additional viruses, and hospitals are burdened with larger patient volumes in the setting of smaller staffing pools. Luckily, Anytime Pediatrics offers a solution: A customizable telemedicine platform that allows pediatricians like you to keep your patients connected to your practice. In this blog, we’ll discuss three ways telehealth reduces overall wait times, thereby improving the patient experience.
Shorten Wait Times for In-Person Appointments
According to recent surveys, patients are waiting longer to get in-person appointments — sometimes 20 or more days. Many pediatric practices are finding it difficult to make room in their schedules to accommodate the growing need for new patient appointments, well visits, and sick evaluations. If you are finding this to be true within your practice, then telemedicine is an excellent option to optimize your ability to see more patients in less time.
Virtual appointments are appropriate for pink eye, flu symptoms, skin rashes, minor wounds, and allergy symptoms. Behavioral health, medication follow-ups, and lactation consultations are also well-suited for telehealth. When prescriptions are necessary, you can send them to the pharmacy of the patient’s choice, just like you would during an in-office visit. In addition, you may provide work and school notes following a virtual appointment. In short, telehealth appointments offer many of the capabilities of in-office visits in a convenient, timely, and cost-efficient manner. Seeing patients virtually when it’s appropriate is the ideal way to make room in your schedule for new patients and well visits.
Reduce Wait Times in Your Office
Unfortunately, it can be common for patients to wait 30-60 past their appointment time before the provider enters the exam room. However, it’s important to ask, “How many of these patients could I have seen virtually, reducing in-office wait times?” With the Anytime Pediatrics telemedicine platform, you have access to a completely customizable workflow. It allows the flexibility to pick the days and times you offer virtual visits on your schedule. This means you can up the number of patients you see without increasing your overall workload.
Plus, telemedicine appointments are convenient for both your patients and their parents. With a virtual visit, your patients can receive the medical care they need without having to miss more hours at school. Virtual appointments are easily accessible from the Anytime Pediatrics website or app by using an electronic device, such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. As a result, parents will not have to take off as much time from work, reducing the financial repercussions of needing to do so.
Decrease Patient Callback Times After Hours
Practices that use a conventional after-hours answering service report that their patient callback times can be four hours or more. Anytime Pediatrics statistics have shown that the average wait time on busy holidays, such as Christmas, are as little as 7 minutes, 41 seconds. Granted, these numbers can slightly fluctuate depending on time of day and day of the week, but they are significantly lower than the average medical exchange.
With our Anytime After Hours service, registered nurses who have at least five years of emergency room experience are available when your patients’ parents call. Our triage nurses utilize the widely accepted Schmitt-Thompson Protocols to answer families’ questions. Depending on the severity of illness, patients can be routed back to your practice for an immediate video visit, or they can schedule a next-day follow-up appointment. Patients receive the medical care they require and the reassurance they need without having to utilize emergency room services. Only 5 percent of patients who call Anytime After Hours are referred to the emergency room, whereas the national call center average is 14 percent. You can rest assured that if your patients are being sent to the ER, then they are experiencing truly emergent symptoms.
Keep Your Patients Connected to You
When telemedicine is not available, nearly half of those patients seek services elsewhere. The Anytime Pediatrics telemedicine platform can help your office improve wait times and callbacks, so your practice remains your patients’ primary point of care. Virtual appointments allow you to be the one to provide patient care and parent reassurance. If your schedule does not allow patients to be seen by you, our network can connect them with a local provider of your choice. Appointment notes from these visits are always available to you!
Telemedicine is a viable option for busy pediatric practices. Virtual solutions from Anytime Pediatrics allow patients to remain in their medical home and connected to you! For more information, contact us today to request a consultation!