The COVID-19 Pandemic continues to impact operations of a pediatric office. From the business perspective of total visits to the office, the average practice continues to see less well and sick patients when compared to the pre-COVID-19 Pandemic. While the United States economy moves forward since the original lock-down, the COVID-19 disease has spread and changed the interactions in society. The last five months children and their parents experienced cancellations of schools, sports as well as ‘normal’ events like birthday parties and other celebrations and gathering. School requirements and sport requirements help insure children receive well visits (a good catch point). Since schools have been mainly remote and sporting events are drastically reduced, some parents are not taking their children to Well Visits. Pediatric practices do a great job as being the Medical Home for Children and the well visit is the core visits that manages the child’s overall health. Additionally, most children have been isolated from normal interactions that result in sick visits and other visits to the Pediatrician.
The good news that the total pediatric practice visits are increasing since April and continue to increase overall. Below is the average change in visits in 2020 compared to 2019 for clients we work with. Note that a few clients have already increased their July 2020 visits to be at or above July 2019.
Practices that performed better than the average were more proactive in engaging patients via TeleHealth by leveraging the well visit work list (patients behind on well visits) and Chronic Care Work List (Patients due for follow-up visits for certain chronic conditions). A proactive approached resulted in a few Pediatric practices having total visits in July that exceeded July previous year.
Some learnings, it is important to have active front desk team members as well as MA/nurses to triad patients for appropriate patients. The practice owner and leaders of a practice that take a more proactive approach did a better job of mitigating the negative impact of COVID-19. These practices benefited from better overall financial performance during a difficult and challenging time.