Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 18

FEATURE / MESSAGING
M
ost patients and families
want the ability to communicate
with care providers the
same way they communicate with
friends and family: electronically.
They want to be able to ask health
questions, schedule appointments
and share new health concerns online.
Care teams also benefit-in a
2019 study, physicians
said online
messages help them build better relationships
with patients. Electronic
messaging also increases patient access
without burdening the phone
lines
and improves
efficiency by
allowing asynchronous communication
any time of day.
However, these benefits come with
a cost. They require providers to
spend substantial
time responding
to the messages, which adds stress,
contributes to burnout and interferes
with face-to-face patient care, according
to a study by the American
Medical Association.
At Cleveland Clinic's Children's
Hospital, pediatric providers and
clinical staff said they felt overwhelmed
by patient portal messages
and had trouble responding in a
timely manner. Using EHR data, the
hospital found that 20% of patient
messages in 2018 did not receive a
response or the response took longer
than three business days, which is
the hospital's standard.
Concerned that this contributed to
unsatisfactory patient
experiences
and clinician burnout, Cleveland
Clinic Children's initiated a quality
improvement project with a multidisciplinary
team to evaluate the process
of portal messaging. The project led to
changes that ultimately reduced staff
burnout, improved response times
and increased staff satisfaction-all
of which led to better patient care.
Identifying the problems
The first step was to understand
the current process for responding
A CLOSER LOOK
Messaging workflow
This is the general workflow
Cleveland Clinic Children's uses
to streamline portal message
responses. To clarify each decision
in the process, the team led an
educational session outlining
criteria for where and when to send
a message, ultimately reducing
response times and staff burnout.
1.
Message arrives in
medical assistant pool
If the message contains
symptoms or multiple
questions, it gets routed
to the nurse.
If the message is about
a follow-up after an
appointment, lab results or
medication questions, it gets
routed to the provider.
Message is read by a medical
assistant who determines if the
message goes to the nurse or to the
provider. Medical assistants never
respond to messages themselves.*
*If a message is opened but never
responded to, it automatically
returns to the pool to ensure
none go unanswered.
18
CHILDREN'S HOSPITALS TODAY Summer 2022

Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022

Contents
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - Cover1
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - Cover2
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - Contents
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 2
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 3
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 4
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 5
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 6
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 7
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Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 18
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 19
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Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 25
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 26
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 27
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - 28
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - Cover3
Children's Hospitals Today - Summer 2022 - Cover4
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