Editor’s note: National Rural Health Day is Nov. 21, 2019. Throughout the month, we are sharing stories to highlight the challenges and good work being done to improve health care in rural America. This article originally appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of the Ben Lomand Connection.
A congested child or uncertainty about the dose of an over-the-counter medication can leave parents questioning if a call, or even a visit, to the doctor should be the next step.
Plateau Pediatrics’ comprehensive website, however, provides easy-to-understand information that can answer those questions. The clinic’s physicians write most of the guidelines, basing them on standards from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The website, as well as the electronic medical records for the practice in Crossville, are possible with the help of high-speed internet through Ben Lomand Connect, says Villa Edwards, practice administrator.
The website addresses information such as how to treat congestion at home, the correct dose of over-the-counter medications like Benadryl, when to worry about swollen lymph nodes or how to tell if a child is dehydrated. Also, the site details the practice philosophy and provides specifics about each doctor and certified pediatric nurse practitioner. A patient portal provides access to test results and other important information, as well as the practice’s regular schedule and adjustments for holidays.
Although the website can be a valuable tool, the four pediatricians and three nurse practitioners like face-to-face visits with patients. “We are always available if a parent feels their child needs to see one of the providers,” Edwards says.
Each patient’s charted information is at the fingertips of the medical professionals, and the high-speed internet allows for real-time insurance validation, says Edwards. “We’re pulling from information via the internet constantly throughout the day,” she says.
Prescriptions are transmitted to the pharmacy at the time the patient sees the medical staff. “It saves from having to drop off a prescription, wait or go back for a second trip to the pharmacy. It’s usually already filled for them when they get there,” she says. “It makes it much easier, especially if you have a sick child.”
The office is typically open six days a week with extended hours for the convenience of the patients and their families. For patient needs after hours, one of the providers is always on call, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to return phone calls in a timely manner.
“We want to do everything we can to make it as easy and convenient as possible for our patients,” Edwards says. “The technology allows us to access their records more quickly and to coordinate the best treatment plan.”