Published on June 1, 2022
“Beyond knowledgeable,” is how one loyal parent describes the team at Pendleton Pediatrics. “I wouldn’t trust anyone else but Dr. Pendleton and her office staff to care for my kids,” the mother said after experiencing two frustrating visits to urgent care and the emergency room for her daughter’s persistent fever. Mom ultimately took her sick child to Pendleton Pediatrics and there, armed with more complete patient data provided by the Arizona health information exchange (HIE), the Pendleton team was able to correctly diagnose her daughter. Within 12 hours the child was fever free.
This is just one of many examples of how the team at Pendleton Pediatrics uses reliable, thorough and timely clinical patient information from Arizona’s HIE to deliver the best care possible.
Dr. Judy Pendleton, or “Dr. P” as her patients affectionately call her, opened her own practice in Chandler, Arizona in 2006. Prior to that she completed her residency at the University of California San Diego and practiced for several years with the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group. Today, Pendleton Pediatrics offers families in the East Valley a full spectrum of pediatric services, including newborn screenings, lactation consultation for new moms, well-child visits, immunizations, and transition to adult care. They also specialize in behavioral health and substance abuse in adolescents through a partnership with Arizona Children’s Association.
Dr. P’s personal values set the tone for her 25-member team. “At Pendleton Pediatrics, we believe all people deserve compassion and respect, and need love and encouragement,” she says. “My hope is that as we grow and develop as a practice, we will become a community, dedicated to every child’s health and success.”
This commitment to community and delivering the best care possible inspired Pendleton Pediatrics to join the Arizona HIE in January 2018. According to practice manager Jodi Brigola, the data supplied by Contexture has become an integral part of their planning and workflow.
“The HIE is a huge part of our daily work, we use it all the time. We receive patient alerts from Contexture and task them out to the appropriate providers,” said Brigola. In fact, all of Pendleton’s physicians and medical assistants prepare for each appointment early in the morning—or sometimes the night before—by looking up the patient’s information through the HIE portal.
“The HIE is especially helpful when serving children in the Comprehensive Medical and Dental Program (CMDP),” said Brigola. “We often find that it’s difficult to secure up-to-date medical records for patients in the foster care system.” CMDP is a Medicaid managed acute health care program serving children and youth in foster care in the state of Arizona. The program works in partnership with Department of Child Safety (DCS) specialists and foster care providers to ensure children in foster care receive needed medical services.
In one such scenario, a DCS foster parent brought in a child in need of medications, but the patient’s medical history was not readily available. Thanks to the reliable data shared through the HIE, Pendleton Pediatrics was able to successfully obtain the child’s medication history and issue a new prescription.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has long encouraged providers to address social determinants of health (SDOH) for pediatric patients. As an active participant of the Practice Innovation Institute (Pii), Pendleton Pediatrics implemented a SDOH tool for families to complete to determine if other needs exist. Looking to future, the staff at Pendleton is eager to help Contexture make the AAP vision a reality by adding SDOH data to the HIE platform.
Additional quality improvement successes achieved through Pii include increasing week-15 well-child visits by 109% (43% to 90%) over 3-year period, and reducing unnecessary inpatient admissions, resulting in an estimated savings of $750K.
“The concept of the HIE is phenomenal, and the fact that it exists is even more amazing,” said Brigola. “We’re thrilled to be a part of the HIE community and look forward to improving our practice—and delivering better care—through more complete patient information.”