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How to Supersize a Patient’s Visit

One thing that every pediatrician and clinician working with children knows is that getting families in the door is 90% of the battle. Whether your patients are located in a low-resourced area where transportation is scarce, or simply have a full calendar of extracurriculars, getting patients in for even a simple sick visit can be challenging.

Instead of trying to change the reality of your patient’s busy lives, clinicians should be working diligently to make every visit easier. One of the best ways to do this is by offering quick and easy add-on services based on the patient’s (or even their present sibling’s) care plan. Think of it as a healthier version of supersizing your meal at a fast-food restaurant. For a small added fee, patients can come away with more than they expected.

Today, we’ll talk about the benefits of supersizing any office visit, and how it can positively affect your patients and their families, as well as your practice.

How Supersizing Benefits Patients and their Families

There are many benefits for patients when clinicians can offer timely add-on services to a regular check-up or sick visit. When a patient is in the practice, it’s so much easier to offer them additional services like a check-up or other overdue screening, since otherwise, they would have to schedule a separate appointment and return to the practice on another day.  They’re here.  You’ve already validated their insurance.  You’ve already COVID-screened them.  Why not do everything you can?

In our experience, over 90% of patients accept the suggestion of a supersized visit, and appreciate that clinicians are aware of their family’s ongoing needs.

Plus, these add-on services don’t have to be for the child being treated. With school out, more parents than ever are bringing all their children to a sibling’s appointment. A savvy clinician can quickly look up a sibling’s chart and care plan, and offer add-on services for any child who happened to be in the practice that day.

Once a relationship of trust is in place, supersizing can help serve the needs of patients, ensuring that they get the holistic care they need, whenever is most convenient for their family’s schedule.

How Supersizing Benefits Your Practice

While supersizing can benefit patients, it has meaningful benefits for practices as well. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many practices noticed a significant rise in appointment no-shows, as well as a deficit in overall healthcare spending, to the tune of about $2.7 billion per week in March and April of 2020. These trends have continued throughout the pandemic, as families were financially strained and worried about becoming infected in a communal space like a doctor’s office.  

Due to this rise in no-shows, many clinicians have been able to creatively fill these gaps in their schedules by offering add-on services to patients mid-appointment. This allows them to convert something like a simple sick visit into a full checkup, and bill it accordingly.

Offering more services to fewer families also simplifies billing and paperwork, with fewer charts being opened resulting in fewer claims to send.

Easy Ways to Supersize Any Patient’s Visit

There are many different add-ons that you can offer patients to help make their lives easier, and improve their standard of care. Some of the most popular options suggested by our clinicians include:

  • Past-due checkups
  • Cholesterol screenings
  • STI screenings
  • Finger-stick hemoglobin tests
  • Hearing and vision screenings
  • All of the above, but for a patient’s present sibling

With more and more traditional pediatric services being performed by urgent care clinics and pharmacies, pediatric clinicians must do everything they can to offer their patients the same level of convenience, with the added benefit of holistic services that only they can provide. 

Finding opportunities to offer more holistic care is important, and it’s always worth the extra time to offer clinical add-ons to any patient visit. That way, everybody wins.

Suzanne Berman, MD, FAAP
sBerman@officepracticum.com


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