In an ongoing effort to improve the care we give our patients and their families, Cary Pediatrics is engaged in a number of projects to look at our practice. Some of these involve our clinical decision making and following clinical guidelines, and some with patient satisfaction.
What have we learned?
Staying on schedule
We are pleased that patients are happy with our practice, and would refer others to see us. But we have heard that our biggest barrier is time waiting in the office to be seen. We have worked with our scheduling staff to ensure that appointments that are made have enough time to discuss the concerns the parents have. We are also working on streamlining the use of our EHR to expedite orders and the gathering of information. We also could use your help: when you call to make an appointment, either a sick visit or a checkup, if you have specific questions or concerns that may require a prolonged visit with your provider, please let us know beforehand, so we can budget time, and be able to give your child as much time as they need, and help keep us on schedule.
Building relationships with a primary provider to address special needs
We also learned that we are doing a good job with having patients with special health care needs see their primary provider, to ensure consistency and continuity of care. But we also see that we can do better. We have highlighted in our scheduling programs and in our EHR a primary provider for patients with special needs. In this way, we should be able to do even better maintaining that important relationship. Below, blue means a patient saw their primary provider.
We are proud that all three of our office are performing similarly, showing we are all on the “same page” in our approach to our patients.
How are we performing?
When you are seeing your provider, you might also hear us mention things like “it is recommended that…” or “guidelines or the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest…” We do our best identifying areas of our practice that have been identified by national agencies as areas of emphasis to improve care, both in the short term and in the long term.
Examples in the past year or two include: following industry standards in vision screening in younger children; cholesterol screening in school-aged children; immunizing children, especially those with asthma against influenza; maintaining appropriate appointment schedules for children on chronic medications; tracking newborn screening to ensure complete results; keeping kids on schedule for their yearly checkups.
We also try to review the medications that we are prescribing. For example we know that cost is very important to parents when it comes to medical care. We also know that generic medications tend to cost less than brand name medications. Unfortunately prescribing generic medications is not always possible, but we want to keep the percentage of generic medications as high as possible while prescribing the best and most effective medications for the patients. Below is the percent of brand name medications we have prescribed for the month of September the past two years.
We strive to continuously improve our practice by reviewing current literature and practicing evidence based medicine. The providers meet frequently throughout the year to discuss the latest literature to ensure that we are all practicing up to date medicine.
We also actively seek feedback from our patients at regular intervals. Formally, we will send out surveys via email after visits for our patients to give us feedback. Our questions on the surveys will change depending on our goals, but mostly involve making sure you were satisfied with all aspects of your visit from making the appointment, to your time with your nurse, and the time with you spent with the provider. We use this feedback to make changes in our workflow and procedures. Listening to our patients is one of our most important goals, so that we can provide the best care and service to our patients.