Better Communication Helps Children’s Hospitals Respond to Unique Competitive Challenges

Children’s hospitals are facing increased competition as health systems and community hospitals expand their pediatric offerings. As a result, traditional children’s hospitals are seeking new and strategic ways to expand their presence and facilitate growth.

One strategy being used is partnering with local and regional facilities that don’t have the infrastructure or expertise to treat pediatric patients that require specialized care. This may be in the form of dedicated hospitalists, neonatologists, intensivists, and rotational clinics of selected pediatric sub-specialties at the community hospitals. By making their physicians, staff and expertise more accessible to community-based hospitals and physicians patients can receive pediatric services for low-acuity, short-stay visits closer to home and patients needing a higher level of care can be identified and transported appropriately.

According to the Children’s Hospital Association, most dedicated children’s hospitals are the sole regional providers for highly specialized services such as cardiac surgery and transplants, and they offer more than six times the number of services as general hospitals.

Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago took a proactive approach to addressing communication challenges. Last year, the hospital served more than 198,000 children from 50 states and 51 countries. But, communication between referring physicians and Lurie specialists was often challenging because there was no uniform way to reach specialists, and because PCPs did not always know which specialist to contact.

Organization leaders recognized the impact inefficient communication could have on patient access, patient care, and physician satisfaction with the Lurie Children’s Hospital. The hospital along with its clinically integrated network, Lurie Children’s Health Partners (LCHPCIN), chose to implement RapidConnect to facilitate better communication and coordination of care for Chicago’s pediatric patients. Implementing this solution would improve patient care and optimize resource utilization.

“With over 13,000 births per year, the turnover in our 86 bed level IV NICU is high and necessitates frequent communication with our community pediatricians. As a NICU hospitalist, RapidConnect is a huge time saver. Now I can skip the operators and answering services and directly reach our outpatient pediatricians via voice or text in a HIPPA compliant manner,” states Patrick Lyons, MD, Hospital Based Medicine, Lurie Children’s Hospital.

With help from RapidConnect, LCHPCIN specialists and primary care physicians can better coordinate consults, share results, communicate patient information, process admissions and more.

In the nine months since the RapidConnect implementation, 1,550 messages have been sent which includes communication from 28 CIN practices and 26 Specialty divisions at Lurie Children’s. Response time is less than 3 minutes for 70% of messages

Currently, the system is connecting more than 135 community pediatric partners to Lurie’s CIN, with 20 Lurie divisions participating, and usage continues to increase as new divisions and practices come on board.

To learn more about how RapidConnect is helping Lurie Children’s hospital, see the complete use case here.

To learn more about how RapidConnect can help you, contact us.