Pediatric Associates located near Cincinnati, Ohio, has been around long enough for some of their original patients to have kids and even grandkids of their own. The practice has continuously operated for the past 46 years and has grown to 3 offices and 9 pediatricians along with a sizeable support staff. It owes this remarkable longevity to a genuine concern for the health and wellness of their young patients along with an acceptance of new technology. This technological adaptability is reflected in their electronic health records platform.
Dr. Michael Chamberlin has been with the practice for 17 years and in that time he seen many changes in the delivery of pediatric healthcare and in the management of this busy practice. In addition to seeing patients, Dr. Chamberlin is responsible for managing the finances of the practice. In this role he has dealt with many marketing challenges, including those from the urgent care clinics that have sprouted up in pharmacies, retail stores, and on street corners! To meet this threat, he has harnessed the power of the PCC Dashboard to shift the emphasis of this practice.
Competing with Urgent Care Facilities
“Over the last decade, we have seen increased competition from urgent care facilities and our number of ‘ill visits’ has steadily decreased over that time,” Dr. Chamberlin said. “Our challenge has been to find other ways to serve our families and we have shifted to a more preventative care and a ‘well-child’ management focus. We are also trying to do a better job with treating children with chronic conditions such as asthma and ADHD.”
What’s causing this movement to urgent care facilities and away from pediatric offices?
“There is no question. It’s absolutely about convenience,” he said. “Even though we are open until 8 p.m. every week night, plus we are open on Saturday and we see sick patients on Sunday, we are still challenged by sheer number of locations of the mini-medical facilities in retail stores and pharmacies along with the free-standing urgent care facilities. Every visit to an urgent care clinic affects our ability to serve as a Patient Centered Medical Home for our clients and it forces us to spend a great deal of time with patients after they have visited these smaller clinics. Plus, this impacts our revenue and it became important for us to adjust our practice strategy.”
The PCC Dashboard Provides Marketing Intelligence and Options
“One of my favorite aspects of being a PCC client is the access this gives me to their Dashboard,” Dr. Chamberlin said. “It guided me to see how our ‘ill patient’ numbers have declined over the past decade.
“It also allows me to see what percentage of our patients is up-to-date on their well-care or who have had a recent visit for ADHD. With a few clicks, we can recall those families so that we can take better care of them. This has been a HUGE help for us!
“The Dashboard gives us an upper level view of the practice and if we need more detail, we contact the support team at PCC. They have been fabulous about teaching us how to find data we need, such as working with specific diagnosis codes or finding the kids with asthma who have not been seen in the past 6 months.”
The PCC platform also helps a busy pediatric practice expedite its billing and collections.
“I have noticed that our day’s end, accounts receivables have decreased since we have been a PCC client,” Dr. Chamberlin said. “That tells me we are getting paid quicker. Plus, our claims are going out cleaner, resulting in fewer problems and rejections, and allowing us to get our payment faster.”
Choosing the Best Pediatric EHR Platform
Making an investment in an EHR platform is one that every practice takes very seriously. Such was the case with Pediatric Associates.
“We started looking at 5 different EHR systems and we narrowed it down to 3,” Dr. Chamberlin said. “Having an EHR that was pediatric-friendly was at the top of our ‘wish-list.’ Since PCC is really the only platform in the country that is purely pediatric-focused, we felt this team understood pediatricians a great deal better than the other EHRs out in the marketplace.
“We also liked how easy the system was to use. It was so intuitive to use that we felt all of our staff would be able to pick it up quickly. We were coming from paper records to our first EHR and we were very concerned about that transition.
“Our practice has many residents and students who work with us and it’s amazing how quickly they can pick up the nuances of this EHR. Typically, it takes these younger staffers one afternoon of seeing patients and using this system to chart and document cases to understand the PCC platform. Even some of our core staff, who were somewhat ‘techno-phobic,’ were able to adjust well to the system.
“Another thing that stood out when we were evaluating companies was the PCC customer service. I talked to other PCC clients – both from references given to us by the company and other practices that I knew used the system – and every one had glowing reviews about PCC and their customer service, the support staff and the help they can give you.
“After we became a customer, those accolades proved to be justified. It’s amazing how responsive they have been when there is a problem. Plus, their service has been second to none.
“I also researched the KLAS website which ranks EHRs and PCC has consistently ranked at the top of this survey for pediatric EHRs.
“Finally, since we have been a client, I have grown to appreciate the fact that PCC is not a huge company. When we call or email them, we are dealing with the same people each time. This is not a mega-company with offices all over the world. These people know us, understand us and can really help us take care of our patients.“