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Carolina Family Care’s journey to
Practitioners face many challenges in health care every day. One
constant concern is how to make the most of the time
practitioners spend with their patients. This question can be
over-simplified, but an effective answer requires thoughtful
consideration. CFC has spent about a year and a half collecting and
analyzing patient feedback to determine the patient's needs and
how the CFC staff can best meet those needs.
One of the first things learned was that there were too many functions
in the front offices. As staff exchanged information, patients
experienced frequent interruptions during phone calls. Calling patients
were frustrated, because they frequently were placed on hold so staff
could continue helping patients in the office. A solution was needed to
provide uninterrupted, quality service to both patients in the office
and those phoning in.
A small department , the patient access center, was established to
serve as the first point of contact for all incoming calls.
Appointments are directly scheduled and other call types are routed to
the appropriate individuals.
CFC's Web site has been designed to accept patient messages as
well. Now, patients who prefer electronic communication can schedule an
appointment, ask questions or provide feedback to their doctor by
e-mail. The messages are answered within 24 hours. For those patients
who are on-the-go and electronically equipped, this is a great new
option. Patients are invited to visit http://www.musc.edu/cfc
to explore these options.
CFC staff also saw an opportunity to improve how test results are
communicated to the patients. A consistent source of patient complaints
was ongoing phone tag. To rectify this, the staff implemented an
electronic notification product, Secure Reach, so that patients can
access their test results at their convenience. Each patient is
provided a personal identification number (PIN) to enter by phone to
retrieve test results or followup instructions from his/her doctor.
Plans are under way to change the information management system to IDX.
This will provide patients who are referred by CFC to MUSC specialists
with a more convenient registration process. This information system
change will prepare CFC staff for the integration of the Practice
Partner system, which eventually will take the staff to paperless
medical records. CFC staff is excited about this change and how it will
improve the availability of patient information to various departments
and service lines.
On July 1, CFC will welcome three new internists to the organization:
Miranda Horton, M.D., who is joining the 30 Bee St. location; Elizabeth
Call, M.D., who is joining the I-526-West Ashley location; and Anne
Marie Fields, M.D., who will be at the new Park West location. The
group is excited to have these new physicians joining CFC and will
begin scheduling patients in early May for the July schedule.
A reminder: This is the season for insurance deductibles.
For CFC patients' convenience, payments may be made by
check, credit card or cash. Patients will be asked which method of
payment they prefer at the beginning of each visit. To avoid delays,
patients are encouraged to bring their insurance card and be prepared
to pay any out-of-pocket visit expenses at the time of their visit.
Friday, Feb. 29, 2008
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