Pediatrician Intuition – What your pediatrician wants you to know
By Dr. Bruce Birk
It is an exciting time for those of us more tech minded. You can access information with a touch of the finger, plays games and apps in any location imaginable, coordinate activities like never before. Tools used by humans for decades are quickly becoming obsolete (i.e. the home phone, the paper calendar, the pen). So, in light of these changes, I thought you might like a snapshot of the medical office of the future (and present in many of these examples).
1. Making an appointment: The Old Way – telephone or email.
The New Way – online in real time. In the second quarter of 2012 we will start using a system where a parent or patient can log in to our website and make an appointment for their well or sick child for that day or a future one.
2. Seeking medical advice: The Old Way – telephone us or search the web.
The New Way – send your provider an email. Almost 2 years ago we started having email access with response within 24-48 hours for medical questions. Now all the providers are on board and the response times are getting faster and faster. Those urgent questions will still need a phone call but who knows what the future holds. Also, pictures and documents can be attached to emails making our advice more accurate.
3. Checking in for an appointment: The Old Way – lots of paper to fill out and time spent in the waiting room.
The New Way – electronic signature. Why fill out the same old stuff again when you can just check it of the computer and electronically sign it. We have started this process and should have it fully in place by the end of 2012. And, since there are no more paper charts to obtain and shuffle around, there is less time waiting around.
4. In the exam room: The Old Way – provider scribbling notes of paper.
The New Way – Provider scribbling notes on computer. We converted to a paperless office over 3 years ago and the benefits for office, patient, and environment are enormous. Providers have access to patient records day and night making us more capable when you call us after office hours. Need a copy of the immunization record or a note for school? No problem, one click and it’s sitting on the printer.
5. Prescriptions: The Old Way – Medical chicken scratch on paper and phone calls to the pharmacy.
The New Way – Electronic prescriptions. Whether printed or electronically transmitted to the pharmacy, these prescriptions are more accurate, readable, and harder to lose. We have been using this system for over 2 years.
6. Painful procedures: The Old Way – Parent or Provider working hard to distract the child while we fix the cut or give the shot.
The New Way – We pull out our iPad and show the kid a movie or let them play a game. It is strangely effective. Of course, we still use the numbing medicines too.
7. Checking Out: The Old Way – You walk to the front desk, make a new appointment and get a card with the date.
The New Way – A medical assistant comes to the room with her computer, makes you an appointment and then sends you an instant text or email reminder. You import it to your calendar and have it forever. No more lost cards or wrong times/dates written down. This system will be started in the second quarter of 2012.
8. Appointments: The Old Way – Get in your car and drive to our office.
The New way – Online visit! Got a simple rash? Want to visit with your provider about a behavioral problem? Pediatric associates is already doing online visits and soon we will be able to do online video visits (like a Skype call). You can access this through our website.
So there you have it – The future of technology in our pediatric office. We hope you are impressed or at least excited for a little more convenience offered in a medical system fraught with inconvenience.
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.