Evening Specialty Clinic Hours at American Family Children's Hospital
Madison, Wisconsin - Patients are people, and people live busy lives.
Squeezing a doctor's appointment in between work and school and soccer and clarinet lessons can be a challenge, so for the past six months American Family Children's Hospital has been offering evening clinic hours to patients seen in its specialty clinics.
"We found in the specialty clinics our patients were asking for times that weren't between 8am and 5pm," says pediatric ear, nose and throat specialist Diane Heatley, MD. "Evening hours fit their lifestyles better."
Dr. Heatley's ENT clinic is available on alternating Mondays from 4-7pm. In total, 13 medical specialties at American Family Children's Hospital offer evening appointments on Mondays, Wednesdays or Thursdays until 8pm.
Appointments in every specialty clinic, however, are not available every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Patients are encouraged to call their clinic and ask about evening hour scheduling and availability.
"It's three or four specialists a night, and we coordinate them with the ancillary services they need," says clinic coordinator Ryan Brown, who is responsible for making sure the evening clinics are properly staffed.
Brown's challenge is to strike the right balance of service for the evening clinics. The goal is to offer evening patients all of the services to which they would have access during the day.
"We have X-ray, laboratory, ECG (electrocardiograms), dietitians," Brown says. "We try not to schedule appointments for people with very complex needs or require attention from multiple specialists. But (evening patients) are going to get the same care in the evening that they do during the day."
In six months the evening clinics have seen 1,045 patients, and the feedback Brown and Dr. Heatley have received has been uniformly positive.
"It's been very popular," Dr. Heatley says. "Particularly for school-age kids, being able to be seen at 4:30 or 5:30 or 6:30 is less disruptive for their school and their parents' work."
"I've surveyed all of the providers and they've come back with positive results," Brown says. "And families are so happy they can be see outside of normal clinic hours. They don't have to take off work. Their children don't have to miss school. It's great."
Date Published: 04/26/2016