By Robert Massey, Business Intelligence Architect, Children’s Information Services and Technology (IS&T) Team
At Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, our five Urgent Care Centers recently started sharing wait times to help families know what to expect when they bring a child for care. It was a pretty big deal for our hospital system, as we had not offered that kind of real-time service before.
This is the type of project I would never have seen myself working on when I first joined Children’s in the early ’80s. It’s also one that’s already yielding a great response.
Earlier this year, our Urgent Care team wanted new ways to help reduce stress on families. Emily Vander Wiele, Director of Physician Practice Operations, and Usha Sathian, M.B.B.S., M.D., Practice Director of Urgent Care, came to our Information Services and Technology (IS&T) team for help.
I was responsible for pulling relevant information from our patient database and using it to calculate how long families might expect to wait for a provider. To ensure the information would reach families quickly and accurately, it was important that data come directly from our electronic health record system and go to consumers, instead of having it go into another database first. But that probably took the longest time to figure out.
Once I had the data organized, I worked with Shaun Baddock, an Applications Developer who has more than seven years of experience at Children’s. Shaun arranged my data to update every 15 minutes on our website and through text messages. It’s an ongoing project because we’re always trying to tweak it to make it more reliable.
Now that we know how to share our wait times securely, we are looking into applying the process to other clinical areas such as our Emergency Departments.
I’m amazed to see that several thousand people have used the wait times resources—both online and via text messages—since we started sharing them in September 2013.
This is not something I could have envisioned when I was a teenager starting at Children’s nearly 30 years ago. And for good reason, as the the Internet had not been invented yet.
Robert began his career at Children’s stocking and delivering medical supplies at Scottish Rite. Today, as a Business Intelligence Architect, he supports several other clinical and non-clinical teams at Children’s, including Finance, Foundation and Cardiac Services.
Robert has been published in several medical journals and even received a patent earlier this year—the first for the Children’s IS&T team—for an interactive patient demographics analysis tool he developed.
If you or someone you know might enjoy working on our IS&T team, see our job opportunities.