CASE STUDY – IMPROVING EFFICIENCY LEADS TO BETTER PATIENT SATISFACTION
Streamlining patient communication saves hours each day – and delights patients – for this Del Rio family practice
In early 2020, Julia Cadena, Office Administrator at Cadena Family Practice (CFP), realized her staff was inundated with phone calls to the point that it inhibited their productivity and quality of care. “Our biggest problem has always been that the phones are constantly ringing, and we always have a lot of voicemails,” she said. In February, the practice began using OhMD as their patient communication platform. The effect it had on staff productivity and patient satisfaction was tremendous.
With OhMD, the practice transitioned from calling patients and responding to voicemails to HIPAA compliant two-way patient texting. Patients were having a difficult time getting through on busy phone lines as traditional calling isn’t able to scale to meet the demand during busy lunch breaks at work or before/after school. Patient texting single-handedly resolved these issues by allowing for asynchronous conversations between patients and Cadena’s team. Now patients and providers message any time they’re free (on or off-hours) and the practice can distribute that influx of patient inquiries efficiently across the team, all at the same time.
“Adding OhMD to our practice has been one of the best decisions we have made. Not only has patient communication been made easier, but it also allowed our staff to interact with the patients on a more personable level.”– Julia Cadena, Practice Administrator
This new approach to communication also extended to some of the most time-consuming efforts, like prescription refill notices. Instead of calling to tell a patient that their prescriptions have been sent in, nurses simply send a text. This personalization and efficiency lends itself to improved patient satisfaction. Physicians can directly text patients, too, rather than having to go through their staff. Cadena says OhMD has saved the nursing staff about 2 hours per day of having to call patients for results or refills alone.
In addition to personalized texts, the practice uses OhMD’s broadcast tool to send appointment reminders to a list of patients with a few clicks. This process saves front desk staff the headache of trying to fill last minute no-shows, equating to significant increase in revenue. Cadena said they used to send automated appointment reminders to patients through their EHR, but not all patients would receive them and there was really no way to interact with those messages. Since 95% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of receipt, sending appointment reminders by text ensures CFP patients get their reminders and show up for their appointments.
OhMD is able to complement and enhance the functionality Athenahealth brings to a practice workflow through integration, by enabling staff to seamlessly update patient charts. When staff at CFP end a conversation with a patient, they can directly export this content and the duration of their video visit to Athenahealth with just one click. Cadena says this one-click process saves the team time and the exported information is always easy to find in the EHR.
“On average, OhMD saves our front desk staff 1-2 hours per day.”-Julia Cadena, Practice Administrator
Before using OhMD, Cadena Family Practice’s documentation and intake process was slowing them down. The original process was arduous and time consuming. Patients and front desk staff had to download, print, email, fax, scan, and file intake forms. With OhMD Forms, practice staff send form links to patients by text. “Patients no longer have to come into the office to pick up new patient packets or telehealth consent forms because they’re able to fill them out online”, says Cadena. This transition to accessible electronic forms has contributed to a rise in patient satisfaction. Plus, going paperless saves the practice about $20 per form. It’s a win-win for the practice and their patients.
When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, Cadena Family Practice was already using OhMD and was able to easily adapt with OhMD video visits. To launch video visit, a nurse or provider clicks a button and the patient gets a text message that launches the video call. “Patients like the simplicity of the video visits and forms,” says Cadena. “They really appreciate the modern update in our clinic and the ability to do everything online or via text.” Even during the pandemic, the practice has been able to see more patients per day than before thanks to video visits. In fact, patient acquisition is actually growing the practice. “Our influx of new patients has increased dramatically over the last several months,” says Cadena. “We have averaged about 20 new patients every two weeks.”
Teleheath wasn’t the only shift the practice had to make due to COVID-19. Cadena says, “We also help to ensure the safety and health of our patients by allowing them to text us when they arrive and to let us know they will be waiting in their cars”. The practice established this “parking lot waiting room” system to promote social distancing and keep both their staff and patients safe. “Patients feel safer checking in from their car and are happy about the rapid response they get,” says Cadena. “They have loved this option and have let us know that they appreciate the service.”