Improving Care and Patient Satisfaction: An Interview with Wichita Falls GI Associates

The new MIPS initiatives pose tough challenges to providers, especially to those within a small and independent specialty practice. Therefore, new technologies will be paramount to the success of physician groups as they prepare for CG-CAHPS and value-based care through MIPS in the future. Often times, physician groups do not have adequate resources to focus on both following up with patients and pinpointing areas where they can improve the patient experience.

Leading the charge in healthcare innovation, Dr. Louis Wilson of Wichita Falls GI Associates approached CipherHealth. Our user-friendly suite of digital care management solutions was seamlessly integrated into their care routine in order to improve patient engagement and satisfaction. Although he was already part of a successful physician group with a high patient satisfaction rate, Dr. Wilson saw CipherHealth’s products as an opportunity to push the practice above and beyond. Consequently, Wichita Falls Gastroenterology Associates was the first independent clinical practice in the country to use CipherHealth’s innovative platforms.

His foresight clearly paid off, as an astonishing 80% of patients on average engage with CipherHealth’s automated care calls and the group has been able to address the clinical concerns of its patients at least 50% faster. The physician group currently uses both CipherOutreach, CipherHealth’s automated patient follow-up solution, and CipherKiosk, CipherHealth’s patient experience survey solution. Due to the success of the digital platforms at Wichita Falls GI, Dr. Wilson was eager to share his team’s experience with the implementation.

Interview with Dr. Louis Wilson:

CH: As you were making the decision to implement the follow-up outreach program and the survey tool, what were the primary challenges that you were trying to address? What specific goals did your organization have when partnering with CipherHealth?

LW: For a physician practice, the changes needed to actually make improvements in CG-CAHPS are daunting. Therefore, I was looking for technology solutions that would not just measure patient experience, but also improve care. Meanwhile, the solutions also needed to be cost-effective and make the management of our staff better. I thought CipherOutreach and CipherKiosk offered that potential.

CH: What have been the patients’ reactions to the automated calls?

LW: In our practice, we are using the CipherKiosk platform for post-encounter exit surveys. We are also using CipherOutreach for post-encounter “care-calls” that address specific clinical concerns such as scheduling for additional testing or medication prescriptions. We use follow up “Care-Calls” 72 hours after the encounter. Patients have had very positive experiences when interacting with the care calls.

CH: What are some of the successes that you’ve seen since implementing CipherOutreach and CipherKiosk? What have you learned about your patients through the CipherOutreach and CipherKiosk programs?

LW: Adding the Cipher products and dashboards to our clinical process has transformed our practice for the better and made it easier to manage. We’ve been able to identify improvement opportunities using a combination of post-encounter digital surveys and automated care calls. We’ve also improved verifiable issue resolution for patient care-related concerns. We were equally able to identify the areas that were already doing well. Most importantly, we are addressing the clinical concerns of our patients at least 50% faster, and we are able to document these care improvements much better. This is such an important management benefit.

CH: How do the paper survey patient response rates compare to CipherKiosk’s point of care surveys?

LW: There is essentially no comparison between our results with paper surveys and the post-encounter digital surveys. We were randomly sampling 100 patients per month with paper surveys and were getting a small fraction back. In all, our paper survey responses were received for less than 1% of encounters. We currently get digital survey responses from about 35% to 50% of all encounters and an astonishing 80% success rate for automated care calls.

CH: As a product, CipherOutreach saw its early successes with acute hospitals and ED follow-up. In the clinic setting, what are the efficiencies delivered? Was your office following up with patients post-visit before you implemented Cipher’s solution?

LW: Like the vast majority of physician practices our size (6 providers), we did not have the resources to make effective follow-up calls for all patients. We were essentially responding to patient concerns only when the call was initiated by the patient. That is not an effective way to improve care or the patient experience.

CH: How has Cipher been as technology partner? Did they take any of your feedback into account for improving CipherKiosk or CipherOutreach to make the products easier to use?

LW: Without a doubt, Cipher has been an enthusiastic and effective technology partner throughout this process. This is why we are still using the products and why they have brought us success. In each instance, Cipher has been responsive, and more importantly, proactive.

CH: What is the role of innovative technology in clinics, as players in the industry work to position themselves as a value-added partner?

LW: For years, paper surveys have been the standard for measuring patient experience and have been of questionable value. In my opinion, it is critical to communicate with patients about their care during the intervention phase of the encounter, before outcomes are determined, and before opinions are set in stone. You cannot hope to do well by waiting for patients to call the office or by using paper surveys.

Louis J Wilson, MD, FACG

Key Takeaway:

CipherOutreach and CipherKiosk can help a smaller clinic take patient care and the patient experience to the next level. As highlighted by Dr. Wilson of Wichita Falls GI Associates, CipherHealth’s platforms can help transform the way providers manage a practice and measure patient satisfaction. CipherKiosk’s user-friendly interface is easy to implement within a clinic setting to ensure that all patients can effectively provide feedback in real-time at the point of care. In addition, CipherOutreach provides a customizable and timely follow-up outreach solution. CipherOutreach and CipherKiosk seamlessly integrate to create a more positive and lasting impression of the care experience.

To learn how your organization can use CipherOutreach and CipherKiosk to improve quality of care, outcomes, and prepare for payment reform, contact us today.

CipherHealth empowers providers across the care continuum to deliver enhanced patient experiences and communications through a modular, comprehensive patient engagement technology platform.