In pediatric practices there are positions that generate revenue via optimal patient engagement and quality care. These positions/roles in a pediatric office include the front desk team, the medical assistants/nurses, as well as the pediatric providers. Let’s briefly evaluate how each of these roles are both patient engagement and aligned to quality pediatric care.
Front Desk Team Members: The first person a parent and child contact in the office is the front desk team. Many times this is via the phone then live in person when the parents and child arrive at the practice. A good front desk team member understands the clinical workflow of the practice and can prepare and manage expectations of the family when they arrive at the office. Understanding the pediatric practice processes builds trust with the parents and child. The process and questions can relate to scheduling visits, vaccine schedules, follow-up visits and policies of the practice. The front desk team members should be checking eligibility on the insurance and collecting co-pays and/or patient amount due.
Medical Assistants/Nurses: The medical assistants or nurses provide many initial clinical questions and functions, including taking vitals and giving vaccinations. A good medical assistant and/or nurse have a solid understanding of the treatment approaches for well and sick visits in the office. They understand how the providers operate in the practice and should be able to help the provider with optimal treatment while in the office. They perform important patient engagement roles including identifying the history of present illness, as well as the vaccines the patient is behind on based off of the practice’s visit schedule. Some medical assistants/nurses can also enhance the engagement between the provider and the patient.
Pediatric Providers: Pediatric providers include Pediatricians, Nurse Practitioners, and Physician Assistants. The pediatric providers should be working closely with the medical assistant/nurse to understand the HPI, chief complaint, and develop a sound treatment plan. During this engagement the pediatric provider is making choices on the level of service or services provided and should be capturing this information in their chart. The pediatric provider should focus on treatment as well as patient/parent satisfaction with the visit. Being consistent on listening, diagnosing, and treating patients in a manner that is patient and parent friendly is critical to the pediatric practice.
These three roles are critical to operating a successful pediatric practice. Practice leaders and administrators should focus their time and efforts to enhance the effectiveness of individuals in each of these roles and solicit feedback from parents and patients on their perception of how specific staff members engage in their roles. In addition to the roles, the practice also needs staff to be able to work in order to provide optimal patient access (e.g. M-Thursday 8:30 – 8, Friday 8:30-5 and Saturday 9-1).
While billing is an important function in a pediatric practice, in most cases, a proven Pediatric Medical Billing Company can provide a more consistent and better results for the practice with a number of benefits to the practice. The benefits include: the practice leadership does not need to maintain knowledge and skills on managing and monitoring the revenue cycle management process and/or payer edits nor does the practice need to hire, train, and manage medical billers as well as a practice billing manager including providing them space, attending training courses and monitoring performance. While some of the micromanagers might like to get into the details, this takes time away from growing the practice by optimizing these three roles each and every day. Once these three roles are optimized, the practice growth rate should increase and the practice will need to identify additional pediatric providers.