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Pediatric Group Connects with Multiple Generations through Text Messaging

Posted by Lea Chatham on Oct 5, 2020 8:00:00 AM

For an organization that serves 400,000 children in over a million visits a year, a five percent no-show rate has a big impact on the bottom line. That five percent is over 50,000 missed appointments a year. In addition, pediatric organizations face the unique challenge of not just engaging parents but also children over age 13.

A five percent no-show rate may seem enviable, but PPOC wanted to get it even lower. They also wanted to increase the number of families and adolescents using the MyChart portal. Their previous patient communication system didn’t give them the tools they needed to achieve those goals.

“The real impetus behind the use of SR Health was our need to have a platform to engage our patients bi-directionally,” explained Chief Information Officer at PPOC, Nael Hafez. “What we had in place before was a one-way system with limited capability for appointment confirmations and our practices were asking for the ability do more. We partnered with SR Health to be able to achieve much broader and deeper interactions for better patient experience.”

In the short time since they started using SR Health, they have seen a drop in no-shows from five to four percent, or over 850 visits a month. This aggregated number represents the no-show rate for 80 practices, nearly 55 of which have fully implemented SR Health. They have also seen a better confirmation rate. In one month alone, they sent out over 165,000 reminders and had a 25 percent confirmation rate. Hafez believes the use of text messages is having an impact on no-show rates as well as other areas of the organization.

During the pandemic, PPOC is using bidirectional text more than any other SR Health feature. “We have patients notify the practice from the parking lot when they arrive to reduce waiting room use and support physical distancing,” says Hafez. The park and text strategy has worked very well with their patients’ families.

PPOC is also working with SR Health to deploy new capabilities to increase engagement with the MyChart portal. “We’ve had trouble getting adolescent patients to sign up for MyChart,” Hafez says. “So we are working on getting a link to those patients who are 13 and older through SMS text. They just don’t use email or answer their phone, and we need them to engage with us through the portal to provide critical services like telehealth. We believe text is the best way to get them activated and engaged.”

According to Hafez, “It’s a strategic imperative to improve customer service and patient experience for the population that we serve, as it is for most healthcare organizations. That means better, more timely communication that puts information in patients’ hands through the tool that is used by the vast majority of people—their phone. SR Health is enabling us to do that.”

Nael Hafez also believes that to achieve their goals required a long-term, committed partner, not just a vendor. According to him, “SR Health has demonstrated a commitment to this partnership. They understand the impact this system has on our patients and us. When we have had a problem, the team works day and night to address it, and they are working hard to develop new solutions. When we noted that we had a gap in enabling our patients to access our portal, they delivered a solution.”

The level of engagement by the practices in the network supports what Hafez says about SR Health’s partnership and commitment. Prior to SR Health, 65 percent of the practices in the network used the old patient communication system. Now 85 percent have signed up to use SR Health and that number is still growing. As a result, Hafez believes that they will see their no-show rate continue to decline and engagement on the portal increase.

“SR Health has demonstrated their value by giving us exactly what they promised, which is a platform that allows us to engage with our entire patient population and increase engagement on our portal so we can deliver the best possible care,” adds Hafez.

You can print or download this case study here.

Lea Chatham

Written by Lea Chatham

Lea Chatham is the Director of Content Marketing at Solutionreach and the editor of the SR Health blog. She develops educational resources to help healthcare organizations improve patient engagement. Her work has been published in many leading journals including Physicians Practice and Medical Economics and she has presented webinars for industry groups like MGMA.