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

One strategy 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.

As a result, children’s hospitals are realizing that provider-to-provider communication outside their four walls is more important than ever before.

Ann & Robert H. Lurie’s Children’s Hospital of 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 Children’s specialists was often challenging because there were too many varied ways to reach specialists, and because PCPs did not always know which specialist to contact.

The hospital along with its clinically integrated network the 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.

“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 HIPAA-compliant manner,” said Patrick Lyons, MD, Hospital Based Medicine, Lurie Children’s.

 

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 eleven months since the RapidConnect implementation, 2.600 messages have been sent which includes communication from 34 PCP practices and 28 divisions at Lurie Children’s. Response time is less than 3 minutes for 50 percent of messages

Currently, the system is connecting more than 155 community pediatric partners to Lurie Children’s CIN, with 28 hospital divisions participating. Adoption of Rapid Connect usage continues to increase as new divisions and practices come on board.

 

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

To learn more about how RapidConnect, click here.