North Scottsdale Pediatrics

The case for convenience

athenaOne’s mobile-enabled online scheduling improves patient access

  • 22 providers; 30 staff
  • 30,000+ patients visits last year
  • 2 locations in North Scottsdale, AZ
Challenges
  • Staff overwhelmed with patient phone calls
  • Not keeping up with demand for appointments
  • Difficult to meet patient expectations for technology
  • Challenged to maintain excellent individual attention and service
Solution

athenaOne®

Results

Convenient technology experience attracts and retains patients

Improved provider and staff satisfaction with daily workflows

  • 50%

    of patients use portal regularly
     

  • 7 days

    or less for new patients to be seen 

Since its founding in 1988, North Scottsdale Pediatrics has been committed to quality care and exceptional customer service. As the practice expanded, and as patient expectations have evolved, staff had a hard time handling call volume and scheduling while maintaining personal attention. With athenaOne, athenahealth’s suite of medical record, revenue cycle management, and patient engagement services, the practice is able to offer consumer-grade technology, flexible appointments, and quality care to every patient — while streamlining operations and giving providers better control over their scheduling.

The patient comes first

North Scottsdale Pediatrics wants their patients to feel welcomed and well cared for. “Since our founding, our mission has been to provide the highest-level pediatric care based on evidence-based medicine,” says Dr. Jeffrey Siegel, partner and full-time provider in the practice. “And we want to do that in a warm, loving, compassionate way, focused on customer service.”

It’s not an easy mission to achieve. Today, patients expect immediate access to providers, convenient appointments, and mobile-enabled technology. “For us, customer service is taking care of patients the way we would want our kids taken care of, as well as providing a level of convenience that sets us apart from other practices,” says Siegel. “In today’s world, if things aren’t convenient, patients feel there’s a problem.”

“Times are changing,” agrees Tricia Juba, practice administrator. “As an organization, we needed to evolve in order to meet our patients’ expectations for service.”

A new way to balance service and care

After a smooth transition to athenaOne, the first hurdle the practice cleared was the large volume of daily calls. “Every day, we have up to 11 providers seeing about 30 patients each,” says Juba. “We get thousands of phone calls a day. We couldn’t handle that many and provide excellent service to each person.”

Patients complained about hold times on the phone, and the amount of time they had to wait before an appointment was available. And a new generation of parents is bringing particularly high expectations when it comes to service. “Millennial parents make up a big part of our population now,” says Juba. “They are looking for speed, value, convenience. That is why we need to be at the forefront of technology.”

athenaOne’s mobile-enabled online scheduling quickly became a prized feature. “Our patients love our web scheduling,” says Juba. “It gives them 24-hour access to our office to make any kind of appointment. If they get up in the middle of the night and their kids are sick, they go on our portal, make an appointment, and we can see them at eight in the morning.”

“athenahealth’s patient portal allows our patients easy access to their kids’ medical charts through their cell phones, which our patients really love,” agrees Siegel. “Most importantly, they can schedule their kids’ appointments on the fly, whether they’re at home or sitting in our parking lot. We hear all the time from patients how appreciative they are to have those services.”

Improving appointment access and outreach

The practice was able to deepen its relationships with patients and families because of athenahealth’s convenient patient engagement tools. “Our patients are using the patient portal to request refills, referrals, and ask their provider questions,” says Siegel. The online scheduling feature helps the practice optimize the daily schedule, giving patients convenient appointment options while reducing work for staff. “We’ve always made it a point to offer same-day appointments,” says Siegel. “Online scheduling provides another way for patients to take advantage of that without having to call the practice.”

To date, about 50 percent of patients use online scheduling, which is much higher than the 30 percent of patients who typically access a patient portal.¹ “We educate our patients about the portal and try to drive them towards it,” says Juba. “Once they realize what they can do with it, it’s the best thing they’ve ever used.”

What’s more, the practice was able to significantly reduce the wait time for new appointments. New pediatric patients wait an average of 17 days for their first non-urgent visit.² With athenaOne, new patients at North Scottsdale Pediatrics can be seen within a seven-day window for non-urgent visits. “It’s important to us to offer that level of service when a new patient wants to become part of our practice,” says Juba.

Efficiency supports provider satisfaction, too

In fact, with athenaOne, the practice can ensure a good care experience for both providers and patients. “athenahealth has helped us build and customize our entire clinical EMR experience, from building order sets to creating our own encounters. We also utilize athenaOne’s group campaign calls, the task buckets, and appointment reminders for our patients,” says Juba. “athenaOne keeps our quality of care top-notch. We make sure all our patients are seen when they need to be seen.”

In addition, the practice staff can focus more of their time on higher value work. “We still have that personal touch with each patient,” says Juba. “But we are more efficient. Having athenahealth’s solutions in place has helped us move staff into other areas that we need more manpower on.”

Physicians enjoy the level of control they have over their daily schedules. “Our patients only have access to the appointments we give them access to,” says Siegel. “Ultimately, as a physician, I maintain control over my schedule and know that our patients are getting appointments that work for them.”

“We don’t have overwhelmed staff, or burned-out providers,” says Juba. “Our system is efficient for everybody.”

On the cutting edge and moving forward

North Scottsdale Pediatrics knows they will be able to keep up with change, no matter what the future brings in healthcare. “We’ve formed a great relationship with athenahealth,” says Juba. “They understand our practice’s short-term goals but also our long-term vision. We’re on the cutting edge of technology, and always moving forward. athenahealth is right there with us as we evolve.”

Best of all, the practice is confident they can provide an excellent experience to patients. “The online services we offer to patients show that we care about them,” continues Juba. “It says that we’re here for them, and they have a place to go when they need somewhere to go. That’s the goal of our practice — providing quality care, and being there for our patients whenever they need us.”

We’re on the cutting edge of technology, and always moving forward. athenahealth is right there with us as we evolve.

  1. Heath, Sara. “Patient Portal Use Lagging Despite Strong Provider Support.” Patient Engagement HIT. Accessed January 16, 2019. https://patientengagementhit.com/news/patient-portal-use-lagging-despite-strong-provider-support.
  2. Hayhurst, Chris. “The Doctor Will See You…Sometime.” athenaInsight. Accessed January 16, 2019. https://www.athenahealth.com/insight/doctor-will-see-you-sometime

     


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