WakeMed Pediatric Endocrinology Automates Message Routing and Speeds Up Patient Care
People were paging the provider they knew best instead of the on-call provider
WakeMed Pediatric Endocrinology, part of WakeMed Physician Practices, provides state-of-the-art diagnoses, treatment and management of endocrine problems for children and families throughout Wake County in North Carolina. Their board-certified pediatric endocrinologists care for a diverse population of children ranging in age from birth to 18. The WakeMed Pediatric Endocrinologists cover calls for the 99-bed WakeMed Children’s Hospital and Pediatric Emergency Department.
Previously, one provider would be paged more often, even if they were not on-call, because he or she had been at the practice longer. This meant extra time was spent getting the concern to the correct provider. It also meant that vacations and other times out of the office were unnecessarily interrupted. It was especially challenging when a new provider was added to the practice since he or she was not yet known in the community. The workload was disproportionately falling on the established partners and delays in care were occurring.
Automatically paging the on-call role in PH Connect
The call schedule for WakeMed Pediatric Endocrinology was built and maintained in PH Connect and the role “Pediatric Endocrinologists On-Call” was created. The Emergency Department secretaries were trained to use this on-call role to request consults. Community physicians were given material on the best and quickest way to reach all specialists, including pediatric endocrinologists. All training urged referring providers to use roles instead of physician names so that messages would be answered quickly. The Pediatric Endocrinologists who were not on call were then able set their status as unavailable, so that all messages would automatically forward to their on call partner. This prohibited users from circumventing the role.
When the practice added a new partner to their practice, that physician was automatically included in PH Connect as part of the on-call schedule. No additional training was needed for the community or ED, since they were already accustomed to messaging via the on-call role instead of physician name.
97% of all inbound messages are now being received by the on-call provider
PH Connect allows for correct call schedule routing to the department and protects each provider on their days off by automatically routing messages to the on-call provider. A recent analysis of all incoming messages to Pediatric Endocrinology revealed that 97% of all messaging is now being directed to their on-call provider, supporting the most efficient care coordination to those who are reaching out to this practice.
During the newly hired partner’s first week of on-call responsibility, 100% of messages were directed to him and none were sent to the more established partners. The team feedback has been very positive.
“Communication is faster and easier between the department and ED, inpatient, and/or community primary care providers. We are usually able to respond (either via text or call) within 5 minutes so we can all move on with our busy days.”
Efficient and dependable communication is impacting the delivery of care to the pediatric population. An example of this is when a child is diagnosed with possible diabetes in the primary care office. “We receive messages via PH Connect asking for advice and notifying us that a patient is on the way to the ED. We can then alert the ED to be prepared for this patient since they need to be evaluated immediately.”
PH Connect has helped take human error and questions about schedule out of the picture, supporting the need to distribute the workload appropriately and improving collaboration for the care of patients. “PCP’s also love that we are so easy to get in contact with!”