Office Practicum Provides Innovative Tools to Help Pediatric Practices Remain Successful During COVID-19 Pandemic

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, Office Practicum (OP) has acted quickly to make sure independent pediatric practices stay successful.

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Curbside Arrival will be an immensely valuable tool, even after COVID-19 is long gone. I appreciate OP for continuing to innovate and meet the needs of our practices during these difficult times.

An innovative provider of pediatric-specific EHR and billing solutions, Office Practicum understands that pediatric patients and their families are anxious about visiting doctors’ offices for appointments.

As the pandemic continues, practices are looking for ways to support social distancing measures, while still providing high-quality, HIPAA-compliant care. To respond to pediatricians’ operational and financial challenges during this public health crisis, OP has developed and launched several new features and tools.

One is Curbside Arrival, which allows patients’ parents to send a text message announcing their arrival and pay their copay, from their cars. Patients are able to wait in their vehicles until an exam room is available, eliminating having patients in the waiting room.

OP released this new functionality within days of learning that pediatricians needed a “direct-to-room” option. Ron Emerick, D.O., of Little Pine Pediatrics in northwest Florida, expressed his appreciation for Curbside Arrival.

“I had discussed this with several app companies in the past few years to try and get a solution like this, but having it integrated into OP is beyond perfect,” Dr. Emerick said. “This will be an immensely valuable tool even after COVID-19 is long gone. I appreciate OP for continuing to innovate and meet the needs of our practices during these difficult times.”

With stay-at-home orders in effect all over the country, pediatric patient visits have decreased. Some of that is due to fewer injuries and less illness, but another factor is parental fear of attending in-person well visits, out of concern that visiting the doctor with an otherwise well child might lead to illness.

Some physicians immediately began offering virtual sick visits, but telehealth well visits were not an option. However, on April 15, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released guidelines for conducting safe and effective virtual well visits.

“This was a huge game-changer for our practices to refill their schedules, avoid care gaps, and keep enough revenue flowing until daily life starts returning to normal,” said Office Practicum CEO Kraig Brown.

OP already had a strong partnership with the only pediatric-specific telehealth solution, Anytime Pediatrics, which made onboarding additional clients quick and easy. OP’s Medical Director Susan Kressly, MD, FAAP, also created symptom and diagnosis template packages, so physicians had these readily available as they implemented telehealth. Within hours of the AAP’s well visit telehealth guidelines, OP was poised to release age-specific well visit templates, and the software team made sure the telehealth features had codes available for billing purposes.

“We are so incredibly proud of our product and development teams who have worked around the clock to enhance billing and chat features as well as put out templates for telehealth and well visits,” said Bethany Williams, Senior Vice President of Product at OP. “We know physicians are putting their lives on the line every day to treat millions of pediatric patients across the U.S., and it’s amazing to see our teams supporting doctors out in the field.”

In addition, OP has created the following resources and tools in response to COVID-19.

Billing relief packages — Many pediatric practices have billers who cannot report to the office. Since bills still need to go out, OP is providing short- and long-term solutions. This allows practices to focus all their time on patient care.

Complimentary training sessions for clients — Designed to help practices navigate their new normal, session topics include the importance of providing telehealth well visits, how best to implement virtual care, and innovative ways to generate revenue and collect outstanding balances.

Financial plans and checklists for practices — Created by physicians and former practice administrators, these tools include the key items every practice should focus on to help their business financially during the COVID-19 crisis.

Even after the pandemic ends, OP’s new features will still benefit pediatric practices as they navigate the new normal. Some of the advantages include a reduction in no-shows and cancellations, successful competition with retail clinics, the ability to see more patients, and streamlined operations.

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Carrie Sjogren
since: 11/2009
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