This week we are proud to feature the Tennessee Pediatric and Adolescent Center (TPAC) and highlight changes they’ve made to increase annual well child visits. Many of our pediatric practices thrive at involving patients and families in care decisions, and this practice is no different. Through a combination of patient education, staff training, and staffing changes based on patient feedback, TPAC has made incredible progress to see that almost all of their youngest patients receive well child visits.
TPAC has offices in Cookeville and Sparta, Tennessee, where they provide a full spectrum of general pediatric care to children and adolescents from birth to age 21. Their guiding values of treating patients as they would want to be treated with trust, respect, and compassion, motivates and drives their care. Accompanying a child as they grow is a long-term partnership, and TPAC providers emphasize building strong relationships with the entire family.
Many families are accustomed to thinking about doctor visits only when their child is sick, however, we know that well child visits are important for prevention, tracking regular growth and development, and establishing strong team-based patient-provider relationships. At the start of TPAC’s improvement journey, only one-third of their 3 to 6 year old patients were being seen for annual well-child visits, giving them much room for improvement. The practice began educating parents on the importance of well-child visits: what happens at them and when they should occur. Front desk staff were trained to check the last well visit when parents call for an appointment. Staff were trained to convert sick visits to well visits when appropriate by completing assessments and administering immunizations, specifically with families who tend to present for sick visits only.
What really shows TPAC’s commitment to quality improvement, however, are bigger changes they undertook. TPAC collects biannual patient surveys which are reviewed by a team of providers and administrators. One recurrent theme was waiting time– for an appointment, and in the waiting room. As a result, nursing staff’s shifts were adjusted and an additional nurse was hired so practice hours could be extended. This has greatly enhanced patient access, ultimately making it more convenient and likely that patients get their well child visits completed.
Since joining TCPI, TPAC’s well child visits for children 3 to 6 years old has increased nearly threefold from just 33% to an incredible 94%. You can read TPAC’s full story here.
The views expressed in this story are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of Tennessee Pediatric and Adolescent Center.Additionally, this work was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, under grant number 1CMS331549-03-00. The contents provided are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of HHS or any of its agencies.