Convenience is King: Improving the Neuroscience Patient Experience

Patient Families | April 19, 2019 | cookchildrens

Today, convenience is king. For caregivers and patients, streamlining healthcare has multiple benefits.  Focused on our goal to provide an exceptional patient experience, we sought to make our family-centered care more convenient in Neurosciences.  Here are just three of our convenience programs put into action over the last year.

#1 Direct communication

Caregivers requested that staff make communication with caregivers easier.  Over the last couple of years, we have evaluated various ways to make it more convenient for our patients and families to reach our services. We provide each new patient with a card that identifies our hours of operation and lists helpful tips on managing our phone calls. Caregivers want to reach us when it's convenient for them, when they take a break at work or go to lunch. Families previously voiced frustrations about playing phone tag with nurses with a single nurse/provider approach. They would call and leave a message; we would call them back to clarify and have to leave a message. It was a vicious cycle. We subsequently have enhanced our services with a team nursing approach, making our nurses more available when our patients/parents need us.

Today, our goal is to answer all calls “live” and talk with each patient/parent, building trusted relationships in our partnership of care.  As a result, total call volume has decreased and our patient satisfaction has improved. Our goal for 2019 is to engage more families in MyChart electronic communication through our patient portal, an added layer of convenience, which also improves communication between our patients and their physicians, nurses and office staff.

#2 Convenient access to care

Caregivers juggle busy lives with work, medical appointments, family activities, school events and social engagements. Our families expressed a desire for the convenience of clinic hours outside the typical Monday-Friday 8-5 workday. We understand the importance of engaging families and respecting their needs, as well as reducing anxiety to create better outcomes in our plan of care. We recently started a trial of Saturday clinics with three physicians that are seeing established patients in one of our satellite locations the first Saturday of each month.  Our initial feedback from patients has been great and we may expand this program in the future.

#3 Online scheduling

Our caregivers are as innovative as we are and want to be able to schedule appointments when their time allows. To meet this expectation, our schedules are now open for online scheduling through the MyChart patient access portal. If a patient needs to cancel or rebook an appointment, they can log into their patient portal day or night! As an added feature for patients on a wait list for sooner appointments, we send appointment notifications for last minute appointment openings via text notification to appropriate patients/parents on those lists. To reduce errors and improve patient care, we have the ability to review those appointments to double check for accurate scheduling. This has been a positive patient experience for families and staff thus far.

Cook Children's continues efforts to provide the best neurosciences care to the patients of Texas and beyond, making healthcare convenient to patients and those who care for them. 

MyChart features include:

  • Access to immunization records
  • Receiving test results
  • Viewing upcoming appointments and changing appointments in Neurosciences
  • Direct communication with your child's care team
  • And much more!

There are 3 ways to sign up:

  • Call 682-303-4367
  • Visit to fill out a form requesting an account
  • In person at your child's next visit at any Cook Children's location

Contributing Authors:

Meri Cozart
Practice Manager, Neurosciences

Julie A. Schmidt
Patient Liaison, Neurosciences

Cook Children's Neurosciences team

Great outcomes begin with great input. Having a medical system where every department, doctor, and care team member works together means that your child can have quick access to testing, diagnosis and treatment, and that means better outcomes now and in the future.

Contact the Jane and John Justin Neuroscience Center at Cook Children's with your questions at 682-885-2500.

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