After a jam-packed weekend at the Natural History Museum and Central Park with my three-year-old, I got up ready to conquer my Monday.
But when it came time to wake my son for waffles and bananas, I got what every parent dreads: His skin felt like it was on fire.
Immediately, I ran for the digital thermometer to confirm my fears. As I suspected, it was RED. He had a temperature of nearly 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
I speed-dialed my pediatrician only to discover he was booked solid that day. Typical. The guy is good.
The member of his office staff I talked to didn’t know when he’d be available, but she said, “Come into the office.”
The last time I took the ‘come in, he’ll try to squeeze you in between patients’ route was a nightmare.
I had to wait behind several people with coughing and sneezing kids before I could even write my son’s name and birthday on a check-in form on the office’s sole clipboard.
To make matters worse, I had just switched my insurance provider and had forgotten to put the new card in my wallet. So I had to call my husband at work in between his therapy sessions to get our new provider info.
Naturally, the member insurance number wasn’t enough. My pediatrician's office needed to see both sides of the card; that meant another call to my better half.
And, the cherry on top . . . I had to fill out paperwork (legibly) with a flailing toddler on my lap who was on the edge of throwing up all over the waiting room floor.
The Times They Are A-Changin’ - Bob Dylan
While my son’s pediatrician is awesome, he’s BEHIND the times when it comes to tech.
His office doesn’t have a monitor with estimated wait times, or a functional website, and too often his DVD player is possessed by some dark force.
On this particular visit, the intro animation to “Finding Nemo” was stuck on repeat. Five minutes of that would get anyone to spill State secrets. Sitting there stressed, worried, with no idea of how long we’d have to wait, I had to suppress every urge in my body NOT to break that TV.
No. There was no way I could survive that experience again. This time, I decided to skip my son’s doctor’s office and try the pediatrics-oriented urgent care two miles from my house.
What a difference…
The urgent care had a navigable website. I could do more than see office hours and learn about a pediatrician's academic curriculum vitae:
I could book an appointment from my laptop (or phone) and receive updates by email and text.
I pulled up to the parking lot and expected to wait up to 10 minutes to sign in. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised with digital check-in! On a tablet with super easy instructions.
After I entered my son’s name and birthday, his name popped up on two flatscreens displaying wait times. 12 minutes! Amazing. And the board would update in real-time as kids were seen. Life-changing.
Before we finished our second Dr. Seuss book, it was time to see the doctor. She examined him and entered his information directly into her tablet. All she needed was the name of my preferred pharmacy for his prescription. I didn’t have to fumble for my phone to Google its exact address.
I even got print and digital copies of our office visit, symptoms, Rx dosage, and some general pointers like “keep him hydrated.”
What’s more, everything the urgent care pediatrician captured this visit was automatically saved for next time.
A better experience for mom and son
While I still go to my pediatrician for yearly checkups, urgent care is my go-to for all the little stuff (and not so little stuff like eight stitches).
I used to dread going into the doctor’s office, but the technology at my local urgent care has made what can be an awful experience so much better. I hope my son’s pediatrician gets on the paperless train soon, too. Otherwise, I’m going to have to find a new one.
To learn more about how the Appirio Patient Onboarding Bolt can integrate technology into your office to help you deliver better patient experiences, click here.
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