Case Study: Panda Bear Pediatrics

Panda Bear Pediatrics Manages Patient Calls in a Secure, Customized Manner without Error

Summary

Since the practice opened in 2004, Panda Bear Pediatrics and owner Larissa Dominy have been caring for newborns all the way through adolescence with their personable staff and proven expertise. The five-provider practice values extended visit time with providers so that parents and patients are educated and at-ease when leaving their visits. They use cutting-edge technology including electronic health records, e-prescriptions, and a patient phone application. “For any doctors, making sure your patients stay as healthy as possible; and more so as a pediatrician really our goal is to take a newborn baby and keep them healthy all the way through adolescence until they are 18 or 20 years old,” Dr. Dominy explains. In addition to Dr. Dominy, Dr. Rao cares for patients as well as three certified nurse practitioners. They plan to welcome a mental health specialist to their team in the future so patients who require specialty care can receive it in the same office that they go to for primary care.

At A Glance

Overview

  • Panda Bear Pediatrics
  • Located in Collegeville and Gilbertsville
  • Number of Providers: 5

Problem

  • The practice’s live answering service was error-prone and inefficient

Solution

  • On Call Central automated call management system directly connects patients to physicians in private, secure phone consultations

Results

  • Accurate call routing
  • On call physicians can respond to pages from their personal phone without displaying that personal number
  • Quick and pleasant IT support
  • Error-free documentation

Problem 

Providing seamless care to children and adolescents also means educating parents and assisting them in keeping their loved ones healthy. In many cases, this requires availability after-hours to answer questions and alleviate concerns. For Panda Bear Pediatrics, that means having one provider on call for 7 days until another provider then takes over. When the practice first opened, they used a live answering service who answered patient calls and then called providers back with the message, phone number, and name of the patient calling. This led to inaccurate information being forwarded to the providers; whether it be the callback number, name, or patient message. Furthermore, there was no documentation of such calls, so in. the case of discrepancy, Panda Bear Pediatrics had no way of covering themselves and their doctors. It is difficult for providers on-call to accurately record information without documentation, especially when those calls are happening in the midst of distractions.

Lack of documentation wasn’t the only problem Panda Bear Pediatrics needed to solve. Providers weren’t well rested after taking calls all night and would come into work exhausted. “Parents don’t always understand that especially with a private practice like ours, it’s us — we’re the ones that are from home answering these calls.

“We’re asking for some silence from midnight to 6 so that we can actually get some sleep.”

We aren’t in a phone triage center where we are wide awake and this is our shift job every night. We’re the same doctor that was on call all day and all week.” Sleep deprivation, as every physician knows, diminishes cognitive abilities and makes providing great care more difficult. Dominy wanted to set her call schedule in a way that did not interrupt provider’s rest, while still answering calls in a reliable, efficient manner. She reports, “Most calls after midnight, in my 20 years of practicing, mean that something is wrong or something is emergent and we’re going to be directing you to the ER to have them take a look at your child.” Emergent calls require the attention of a doctor immediately, not just a late-night phone call.

The live answering service was outdated and inefficient which resulted in miscommunicated patient information.

Solution

On Call Central is a secure, automated call management system using web-based technologies to directly connect patients to physicians in private, secure phone consultations. The key to On Call Central’s ability to deliver fast and accurate results comes from its innovative core features. Callers are first presented with an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu that plays a recorded greeting. This brief, customizable menu begins to filter calls at the point of first connection. Next, the customizable menu module continues “filtration” by shunting non-urgent and inappropriate overnight calls, such as prescription refills and new patient appointment requests. However, the feature that dramatically changed the lives of providers was the ability to schedule voice menus for different times of day. During late-night hours, patients hear a message that tells them the provider on-call will receive the message at 6 am, and to seek emergency care if necessary. “We’re asking for some silence from midnight to 6 so that we can actually get some sleep,” Dominy explained.

The dashboard feature allows messages to be viewed and listened to in a secure, efficient manner. Dominy praises the setup of the dashboard saying, “We could look at our messages the next morning and having the option to archive phone messages and return to them later, and use other special features that the former service may not have had.”

Safety improved by securely and directly connecting doctors with patients while keeping documentation of all communication. Dominy says that by allowing patients to send the message to us themselves, “we can go back and review to double check that we said the right thing.”

Solution

The providers and staff at Panda Bear Pediatrics are thrilled with the time savings and reduced hassle that they have enjoyed since On Call Central went live; however the convenient dashboard and menu customization is not the only feature their team now enjoys.

  • Flexibility and customizability. As a leading provider in pediatric care in Pennsylvania, Panda Bear Pediatrics values its providers’ well-being just as its patients. With menu customization, providers can sleep well knowing that they will receive the appropriate message and information from patients in the morning. In case of an emergency, parents are directed to seek immediate care. Additionally, providers can modify their notification preferences to include call, email, or text alerts of patient messages.
  • Physician numbers remain private. Providers do not have to worry about hiding their callerID when returning patient calls; On Call Central does it for them automatically when they click the callback number within the app or SMS notification.
  • Outstanding customer support. A valid concern of anyone that is going to replace a live service with one that is automated is the level of customer service they will receive. Dr. Dominy raved about quick response times and helpfulness saying, “it’s definitely more streamlined as far as the IT and tech support, which was really good. Response time is usually within a couple of hours during the business day.”
  • Excellent documentation. Providers can now search through messages via the On Call Central mobile app or web dashboard. Messages can be reviewed and archived (never deleted) so that there is never discrepancy regarding what was said, ensuring the safety of both patients and providers.