Today’s children are truly our future. They will grow up to be the doctors, lawyers, teachers and leaders of tomorrow and it’s of the upmost important that we keep these precious lives safe and healthy. Unfortunately, access to the high-quality pediatric care is not always easily obtained. Between parents trying to schedule appointments around school and work, many children living in rural areas where care doesn’t readily exist, and pediatricians being overwhelmed by sheer demand, with over 71 million children under 15 visiting a doctor annually, care can be hard to come by.
Telehealth has recently gained traction for its ability to transform pediatric care. In a recently released case study, Pediatric Associates, the largest privately-owned primary care pediatric practice in the country, reveals how it uses telehealth to care for its more than 500,000 patients, more than 55% of whom are covered under Managed Medicaid. Here’s a short summary of Pediatric Associates approach to pediatric telehealth
Due to its shared risk savings with insurance companies, Pediatric Associates performed a claims data analysis and saw that many pediatric patients were utilizing the emergency department for low-acuity conditions that could be better treated either in a primary care office or through telehealth. In addition to high emergency room utilization, Pediatric Associates also saw high patient volumes within their own primary care offices. To free up in-office availability for patients who truly needed in-person care by directing those who didn’t to another location, Pediatric Associates hoped to create better same-day appointment availability.
Pediatric Associates partnered with American Well to transform its triage line and implement telehealth as a care option. Prior to partnering with American Well, Pediatric Associates clinical phone agents followed a set of triage protocols to determine if the patient needed to go to the emergency room, have a same-day office visit, have a next available office visit within 12-18 hours, be treated via phone, or get home care advice. Since implementing video visits, triage line protocols have been reexamined and many same-day and next available appointment conditions are now treatable via telehealth.
Since integrating video telehealth into its triage line in 2017, Pediatric Associates has seen impressive growth in patient and provider adoption. Specifically, utilizing established pediatric triage protocols and adapting them for video visits, Pediatric Associates was able to utilize its triage line to drive down unnecessary in-person visits for both commercial and Managed Medicaid patients. Through an integration between American Well’s technology and the Pediatric Associates EHR, Pediatric Associates providers maintain care coordination while caring for patients via telehealth. To date, Pediatric Associates has seen:
- 75 percent decrease in patient wait times due to telehealth
- More than 3,000 video visits per month
- Exceptional patient and provider satisfaction of telehealth
And the program continues to grow. In February 2019, Pediatric Associates expanded KidzDocNow beyond its triage line to help care for all pediatric patients in the state of Florida. Now, in addition to patients that belong to Pediatric Associates, providers can also see patients who need urgent care services but may not have access to their own pediatrician. In 2019 KidzDocNow was also made available 24/7 for nonstop access to care.
To learn more about Pediatrics Associates and the results they’ve achieved using telehealth read the case study here: https://www.americanwell.com/resources/pediatric-associates-how-telehealth-triage-evolved-into-the-nations-largest-pediatric-telehealth-program/