Pediatric Associates of the NW Blogs

The Latest and Greatest In Pediatric Associates Tech by Bruce J. Birk, M.D., F.A.A.P.

Bruce Birk, MD
January 18, 2018 01:00AM

The years go by and technology (as it applies in the medical office) slowly moves ahead. As a progressive medical group we are always looking for new and inventive ways to provide better medical care and service through technology. So, here are some of the items we are changing, doing, working on, or moving ahead with in 2018:

1. The Patient Portal

By the numbers, around 75% of our families use our patient portal to access us. The most common usages are the scheduling of appointments (both sick and well visits), emailing your providers for advice, requesting and being sent medical records, getting sports forms, and requesting medications. Our portal has improved significantly over the years and is easier to access and use.  We have seen the number of families using the online scheduling dramatically increase in the past year.

2. The Phones

As our portal usage increased, our phone usage decreased. But hey, who uses their phones to talk anymore? So, we are using texting more.  We text appointment reminders. If you get one please be sure to respond to it and confirm your appointment or you will receive a follow up phone call from our office! We text “Inclement Weather” notifications if the clinics are closed. Wasn’t last winter fun? We text if your Provider is sick and we need to cancel an appointment. We text you to remind you to make a regular check up appointment. So many texts!

For y’all heading to our Tigard office please note that phone number and fax number have changed since our move from the old office. The new numbers are 503-968-3480 (phone) and 503-227-4589 (fax). Please update your phones if you want to call or fax us.

3. Our Website (

It has a lot of useful things on it. There is a whole section of “Patient  Resources” including an excellent section on our “Resiliency” Program, behavioral health, medical advice, and all about our medical home.  It has real time information about clinic closures due to inclement weathers and special news about the happenings in our clinic. It also has our Provider blogs about an endless variety of interesting topics.

4. Social Media

We have an active Facebook and Instagram feed with lots of pictures, video, and advice. Someone once asked me how I can help their child feel more comfortable coming to see us and my answer was “Familiarity!” So, show those pictures and videos and blogs to your kids and they’ll get to know us better. We are also using email to send our newsletter and other more urgent information as needed. We call it “eblast!” To sign up please click the “eblast” button on our website’s main page.        

5. Virtual  Office Visits

The days of having to come to the office for all problems are over. If you have Skype, a webcam or phone, and a problem that we don’t have to touch or look inside the body to figure it out then odds are good that we can do a virtual visit. You schedule it just like any visit and then at the proper time we Skype. It is billed just like an office visit so normal insurance rules apply (Boo! Hiss!). The common topics that we have done virtual visits for so far have included rashes, diarrhea, behavioral issues, pink eye, allergies and anxiety concerns.

6. The Future Tech (not so distant)

That little card (Snellen eye chart) that we use to test your child’s vision is great and certainly has a long and wonderful history but we would love to be able to detect vision problems at a much younger age. We are hoping to upgrade to the Welch Allyn Vision Screener which can be used as young as 6 months old!  

For those of you who have prescriptions printed and then mailed or picked up, we are hoping to move ahead to an electronic  prescribing of controlled substances. We know this would be a tremendous time saver for our families.  Next, there is a home medical toolkit that includes an otoscope and stethoscope. It records the data and sends it to a website that we access. If it works then we could examine your sick child in the comfort of your own home. How about them apples? Last and most important, we are hoping to develop a transporter device that can move objects and people through time and space without any effort.  If you want to help us with the development please send me your cash in large bundles to either office.

I think that sums up our plans for present and future tech. Of course, if you have any good ideas, please send them my way.