attracting the modern parent
As one of the region’s many choices for pediatric healthcare, Atlanta-based Pediatric Physicians PC is an early adopter of technologies that improve the user experience for parents in its rapidly expanding patient base. As a result, the 10-doctor practice adopted athenaOne in early 2017. athenaOne simplified practice operations, enabling doctors to spend more time with their young patients. In addition, staff gained access to flexible reporting that helps Pediatric Physicians target the right level of care to each patient’s unique needs.
Last year, through extensive surveys and listening to patient feedback, Practice Manager Seth Davis learned that to meet the needs of modern parents the practice needed to make their lives even easier. Pediatric Physicians launched athenahealth’s Consumer Scheduling solution, which offers direct patient self-scheduling through the practice website available to athenaOne customers at no charge.
Self-scheduling solution meets needs of parents, reduces no-shows
One pain point the practice felt it could alleviate for parents was the length of time it took to schedule a sick visit over the phone during business hours. Talking to parents to verify patient demographics and the reason for a visit led to high call volumes both in the morning and around lunchtime. This in turn increased patient wait times. Davis and his team believed athenahealth Consumer Scheduling could address these simultaneously.
“Children get sick at all hours of the night, and on weekends,” says Davis. “If parents are up in the middle of the night, they shouldn’t have to set an early alarm to call and secure a same-day appointment. With Consumer Scheduling, parents open their phone, schedule the appointment, then go back to helping their child.”
Consumer Scheduling also helps practices manage same-day appointments with the technology to spread them over a 24-hour period in the practice schedule. This significantly decreased the time staff spent on the phone and enabled them to pivot to higher-value operations. The integrated scheduling reports generated by athenaOne quickly let staff set flags and adjust appointment times for patients’ specific needs.
Another benefit is a four-fold reduction in appointment no-shows for sick visits to the practice. By providing parents the means to schedule appointments anytime via their phone, the practice found they are more apt to keep those appointments. “Our patients see value in self-service scheduling, and in the ability to conduct their paperwork online via athenaOne,” says Davis. “These solutions have increased patient retention for our practice.”
Consumer Scheduling integrates with athenaTelehealth™ and other telehealth applications. Davis’s future plans involve expanding Consumer Scheduling’s breadth to also include well-visit appointments.
As a parent, Davis can also schedule his children’s appointments at the practice in any number of ways. But he chooses Consumer Scheduling. “It’s simply the fastest and most convenient way to schedule a sick visit. Our parents love that it doesn’t require a log-in or password — especially in the middle of the night,” says Davis.
*Based on Pediatric Physicians PC data comparing use of the Consumer Scheduling solution January-December 2019 to January-August 2020