After consolidation in 2018, Community Care Physicians, P.C. (CCP) was faced with the challenge of consolidating not only organizations but also technology. One of their first goals was to get every practice on the same patient communication system. "It wasn't just that we wanted everyone on the same software, we wanted something that integrated with Allscripts," explains Craig Dreher, Chief Information Officer at CCP. "We needed a better tool than what we had, but there were other factors too. We wanted reminders with voice and text that were flexible, and we wanted real-time, two-way text as well. Of course, the cost was a factor, too."
When reviewing what was available in the market to meet CCPs requirements, CCP looked at all the business problems, evaluated several solutions, and with buy-in from across the organization, chose SR Health from Solutionreach.
The original decision to implement SR Health was to streamline and improve patient communication across the 72-practice group. "We saw real benefits right away just getting everyone on the same system and streamlining processes to meet the business problems and goals we had laid out," says Dreher. "The no-show rates improved quickly, with approximately a 40% reduction." Beyond that, they began seeing benefits from the additional features they didn't have before for marketing and education.
"SR Health represents a new platform to us that's more capable," according to Dreher. "We're a large organization, and we're growing, so we wanted a system that would scale with us and scale to the complexity of adding more specialties and connecting the hospitals. It's quite a comprehensive patient engagement platform, so we're talking to our patients via text, but we've also integrated SR Health into our phone system and website. Each modality used to have its personalized track, and now we're working on getting everything moving down the same pipeline."
Dreher explained why it's so important to move towards two-way texting and other communication tools. "You call, and the phone rings, or you get the voicemail. This inherently creates a work loop for the staff of callbacks and voicemails. The way to solve that problem is two-way text. Then you add the AI bots for text and the website, and now people can come in these ways, and you are impacting the heavy load facing our front desk staff." Dreher went on to say that Solutionreach is thinking differently about medicine with SR Health. "They are not necessarily invested in, 'It has to work a certain way.' They are asking, 'How do we make it work the best way, the most efficient way for this organization?' We're addressing five different generations of people, and they've made it work for all five generations. It is quite compelling."
As the implementation was moving along, the United States was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a matter of days, the organization's priorities changed. Suddenly, the most significant need wasn't reducing front desk workload or no-shows, it was to communicate safety and infection control protocols and to get up and running on telemedicine company-wide.
CCP had already had elements of telemedicine, but they hadn't implemented it in every care setting. "As we saw the spread of COVID-19 approach the U.S. earlier in the year, we immediately went into action," Dreher recalls. "We established a multi-disciplinary COVID Response Team to digest the CDC and NYS Department of Health's recommendations and determine what changes were needed to preserve patient care and team safety."
"As our workflow adjusted, we enlisted our Solutionreach-powered communication tools to update patients of changes to their care and COVID-19 news via newsletters and texting," says Dreher. Initially, they had to communicate about suspended walk-in hours and postponed appointments. But they quickly worked to get most of their sites up on telemedicine, and then they needed to communicate the new process for visits. "Solutionreach helped maintain appointments for patient care via telehealth and share safety steps for patients in need of in-person care. The ability to share reliable, trustworthy information with our patients played a crucial role in our organization's fight against COVID-19."
The organization went from very few telehealth visits to over 1,000 telehealth visits per day within a few weeks. Using SR Health, CCP has communicated consistently with patients regarding in-person and telehealth visits, and also sent approximately 776,000 other text and email messages related to COVID news, organizational changes, and appointments to date since the start of the pandemic in New York. "COVID-19 caused us to prioritize who needs to be seen face-to-faco minimize our patients' risks, but with telemedicine and communications through Solutionreach, we were able to remain connected to our patients and ensure they received the care they need now," says Dreher. "That is good for us, and for the 370,000 patients we serve across upstate New York who needed us during the COVID crisis."
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