As the team in Dr. Jessica Pennington’s office reviewed their care gaps list in mid-2018, they got to work reaching out and trying to get patients scheduled for needed tests and exams. Their effort was frustrating and not yielding results. But once they changed their mindset, they experienced an amazing turn-around. Dr. Pennington and Office Coordinator Leah Angel share their story and tips for other offices.
Making a Concerted Effort, Yielding No Results
“Without question, getting patients in for Annual Wellness Exams and Diabetic A1c’s has historically been a challenge for our office. Our problems closing these and other care gaps wasn’t from a lack of effort, but patients simply weren’t responsive to phone calls, reminders or even requests to make appointments. Our team made a real push to get gaps closed mid-year 2018. We kept an updated care gap list printed and made it a priority to call patients. We simply could not turn our outreach into appointments.”
Shifting the Mindset
“As we talked with patients, we tried to educate them on the importance of getting wellness exams and other preventive screenings. They didn’t understand why the well-care was necessary and the bottom line was they didn’t want to make another appointment to come to the office again. We knew our efforts weren’t going to close the gaps – then the light bulb went off! We made a list of patients already scheduled for appointments, looked at their gaps in care, and developed an internal process to make sure tests were completed while they were here. The turn-around from that simple shift in thinking was amazing!”
Already Seeing Results in 2019
“Because of the great results we experienced in 2018, our team decided to continue this same process for the New Year. Everyone in the office is focused on making sure our scheduled patients are getting Annual Wellness Exams and other preventive screenings. It’s truly a team effort to communicate better with each other about the patient needs, and to remind the medical assistants and providers about getting those tests.”
Tips for Other Provider Offices
“The great outcomes we’ve experienced came simply from approaching a problem with a different perspective, comprehending what our patients were telling us, and through a team effort. We are communicating more around a shared goal and process. We knew we were missing an opportunity and through our team effort and a little extra work, it paid great dividends!”
The Berea team welcomes any office to use or adapt their process:
• Weekly review of scheduled patients and their care gaps;
• Planned effort to get needed tests, exams and other appointments while patients are in the office;
• Entire office team focused on the goal, process and improved communication.