As children grow older and enter their teenage years it becomes increasingly difficult for pediatric practices to schedule them for annual adolescent wellness visits. While the reason for infant, toddler and child well visits is commonly understood, the importance of yearly exams for adolescents aren’t well-known to patients and their parents. However, behaviors developed during adolescence, such as nutritional habits, physical activity routines and even mental health patterns, often extend into adulthood. These visits are critical.
One of VHAN’s newest members, The Children’s Clinic of Nashville (TCCN), is seeing incredible results when it comes to adolescent well visit engagement by leveraging technology, utilizing reports and implementing a team-based approach.
The clinic, led by pediatrician Frank Haraf, MD, and Michele White, Practice Manager, opened its doors more than 70 years ago. The practice recognized that intentional, innovative communication was necessary to reach their patients. As a result, the clinic decided to meet patients and families where they communicate the most: social media and text messages.
“As our clinic has grown, we have realized that the main highway to our teenagers is through social media. Emails to and from our clinic are a thing of the past and we are realizing that the way of the future is through text messaging and social media platforms,” says Haraf. “We work with several of our young front office staff who are in tune with social media, and they help us post reminders, educational blurbs and office updates.”
The team recently witnessed the significant impact of their social media content when they posted that the clinic was now offering COVID-19 vaccines. Within minutes the front desk saw a massive influx of calls. The trend is the same for text message alerts. The clinic consistently sees an increase in call volume to schedule visits right after a wave of wellness visit reminders are sent to patients and caregivers.
Utilizing Available Reports
How does the team know which patients to contact about missed or upcoming visits or vaccinations? The practice takes advantage of real-time reporting to ensure patients from newborns to young adults are being scheduled for these important visits.
“We use a tool that our ERM provides to identify patients that are due for appointments or who have missed appointments or vaccinations,” White says. “We review these reports on a quarterly basis and patients and families then get email and text alerts.”
Now, thanks to their new VHAN membership, TCCN has access to monthly Gaps reports.
“The Gaps reports show us another way to identify patients that may have missed their appointments,” White says. “We’ve created a process with one of our front desk workers where she goes through the report monthly and makes sure the patients listed have their visit scheduled. If not, she will reach out to schedule their appointment.”
Implementing a Team-Based Approach
The success of the clinic’s adolescent well visit engagement rate does not fall on one person, but rather the entire team. From the providers initiating conversations with patients and families about the importance of wellness visits, to the highly trained office staff who keep the conversation active on social media and encourage patients to schedule visits, TCCN truly thrives due to a team-based approach.
Learn more about the various tactics TCCN uses to connect with their adolescent patients on the latest episode the miniVHAN podcast, which recently debuted a new series focused on change makers and stories of success across the network.