Pediatrician Intuition – What your pediatrician wants you to know
by Bruce Birk, M.D.
Every three months, all the employees of Pediatric Associates get together and spend a few hours working on ideas to make our medical practice a better one. During these sessions we often give voice to things that frustrate our parents and patients. These we take most seriously and spend a lot of our time trying to remedy or cure. Although we fix a lot of them, there are always some problems that are special to the natural running of a medical office. In this blog, I provide for you some insider tips to working with our office to save you time and effort.
- The Phones: Between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8:15 a.m., kids get sick! This is, of course, no surprise. So, when the phone schedulers sit down at their desks at 8:15 am, there are a lot of worried parents waiting to schedule appointments. For those parents, to save time consider using our online scheduling service (http://www.portlandpediatric.com/). Also, if you know you don’t want an appointment until the later afternoon, try calling around 10 a.m. when the phone lines become quieter.
For the other parents calling for advice, consider using our website medical advisor. It is easily found in the “medical advisor” section of our website. You won’t get the same awesome attention as our providers and nurses but you can get good advice and save yourself some time. Also, when you leave a message with our front desk staff for our advice nurses or providers, be brief. The receptionist passes on the message to the nurse who then calls you for more details.
For the parent who is hoping to avoid listening to our phone message: On our website, in the “Contact Us” section there is a list of the common extensions.
- Refilling Prescriptions: Nothing drives parents crazier than the refill process. Rather than talking to our phone personnel, you have a lot of less time-consuming options. First, leave a message – once you hear the greeting on our phone press #8. This will take you directly to our refills message station. This station is checked every few hours and quickly sent on to your provider. Second, send an email. On our portal you can send an email refill request which will get to your provider as quickly as leaving a phone message! Third, if your refill is not a controlled substance, call the pharmacy and request a refill. They will send us electronic refill request which we will fill pronto.
- In the Office: Don’t show up late. Showing up late is the most guaranteed way to have to wait as we work you back into the schedule (or sadly reschedule your appointment). Don’t show up way early. Although we appreciate anyone who shows up early, we still go by the schedule, so showing up way early can force a wait for you.
- Co-pay Confusion: There is no doubt that insurance plans are extremely confusing. If you are watching your dollars and cents carefully (I know I am), then call your insurance carrier before you come to the office to find out exactly how much you can expect to pay out of pocket for your visit to our office.
- Paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork: Rather than show up at the office and start filling out paperwork, download it from our website and bring them in. In the “Patient Information” section of our website there are new patient forms, registration forms, sport participation forms, and developmental screening forms. Download them! Print them! Time saved in the office.
- Medical Records: Many people call the office or email their provider with medical records needs. The provider then takes the request to our medical records personnel who then calls the parents and sorts out the need. Quite the two step! So, call medical records directly and you can have your needs taken care of more quickly.
That is all I have you at present. Don’t hesitate to pass on time saving measures to our staff. We are all in this together.
About the blog
This blog is written by our providers. It is not intended to replace any medical advice, but rather to share our thoughts on a variety of topics we encounter daily as primary care pediatricians in the Portland area. Each entry’s author is named under its title. This content is not based on any commercial product or service, nor is it a recommendation of such. Opinions expressed are our own and are not influenced by any form of compensation.