HPA Behind the Scenes
Ever wonder what happens when you visit HPA? Before you walk through the door? When you’re at the Front Desk? While you’re waiting in the exam room?
Let’s go step-by-step, take a look behind the scenes, and find out…
You will receive a notification from our office regarding your appointment. These notifications can be sent via text or voice. Let our office know if we need to change the way you are notified. Please reply to these notifications letting us know if you will make it to your scheduled appointment.
So your appointment day is here, and you arrive at our office. Our Front Office Associates will update information, collect co-pays, and get you checked into our computer system. They verify your contact info every visit, just to make sure we can get in touch with you if we need to — you might be surprised how often phone numbers and email addresses change — and they will also ask to see your insurance card, because insurances can also change quite frequently.
You will notice we have a well and sick waiting area, please sit accordingly. While you’re waiting in our reception areas, physicians are busy seeing other patients and preparing the exam room for your visit. Because we have multiple physicians seeing patients at one time, you may not be called back into an exam room in the order that you arrived or were checked in. We know that can be frustrating sometimes, but if someone goes back before you in that situation, they’re seeing a different physician who’s running on a different schedule.
We try, of course, to be as fast and efficient as possible. But we can’t always predict when other concerns or problems or even emergencies will arise, and we always want to give every one of our patients as much time as we need to make the best possible assessment, provide the best possible care, and, of course, answer all your questions and concerns. We do our best to let you know when a physician is running behind, but please feel free to ask for an update if it seems like you’ve been waiting for a long time.
Once your child is brought back to the Exam Room, one of our nurses will get vital signs, and ask some necessary medical history questions — which allows your physician, especially in the case of a sick visit, to get a quick picture of what’s going on before entering the room. This is all important information for the provider that helps guide the treatment. (Sometimes your physician will ask similar questions, but that’s because they’re trying to pinpoint things just a little more clearly.)
All of our nurses are trained in pediatrics, so they’re prepared to spot any warning signs or “red flags” that come up when taking vitals and history. If they see a sign for concern — if, say, a child who came in for cough and cold symptoms is wheezing and breathing rapidly — they’ll move quickly to get an available physician into the room right away. Situations like this are one reason you may sometimes have a longer-than-usual wait; we’ll skip over appointment order if it’s necessary to safeguard the health and safety of one of our patients.
Once all of your information has been gathered, the nurse will leave the exam room and let your physician know you’re ready to be seen.
Once your physician reviews the history and asks if you have any other questions or concerns, they begin their exam. After the exam, once your physician has finished the Well Visit or made a diagnosis and recommended treatment for a Sick Visit, your child may need immunizations, testing, or treatments in the office. If that’s the case, your physician alerts your nurse or lab technician, who will prepare — and then deliver — whatever you need to complete your appointment.
Once you walk out the door, we still haven’t completed your visit; a few important things are still happening inside our offices.
First, your physician completes what’s called an Office Encounter by putting all the notes and documentation into your chart. Once the visit notes are complete, you can see a summary of them in your Patient Portal account. (Though they’re usually available by the end of the day, notes can sometimes take up to 2 or 3 days to appear on the Portal.)
Once the office notes have been completed, they’re reviewed by our posters — the members of our staff who attach charges to bills and make sure they’re correct, before our billers submit them to your insurance company.
Once the bill has been submitted to your insurance company, our billers follow the charges and update your account after payment is received. We may not know until then whether there are certain charges or parts of your bill that your individual insurance plan did or didn’t cover. If there’s a balance due, our billers will send a paper statement.
So Now You Know
That’s a look behind the scenes of what happens before, during, and after your visit to HPA. We hope it gives you some idea of all the things that happen, and of all the people who work together, to get you through your visit, and to keep your precious children as healthy and happy as we can.
If you want to know more, or if you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the office anytime!