Now with a footprint of 23 locations and growing, Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics (ACHP) has had a sizable positive impact on the primary care services in northeast Ohio for 2 decades.
To help them raise healthy kids, parents have come to rely on the board certified pediatricians with convenient office hours. This month, we’re celebrating ACHP’s 20 years of helping kids grow strong.
Twenty years ago there was a huge change happening in private practice pediatric healthcare.
Hospitals like Akron Children’s were looking at ways to increase market share while meeting the changing wants and needs of new medical residents getting ready to enter the workforce.
Before 1990, the majority of pediatricians owned and operated all aspects of their practices – from seeing patients in the office and taking call at the hospitals to running the business side of operations.
The only problem – the hours were grueling and the work/life balance was way off.
“Hospitals were training hard working, talented people who wanted a new practice model that allowed them a predictable schedule and a more balanced life,” said Bob Howard, retired vice president of marketing, planning and public relations.
It was becoming clear to hospital administrators that something had to change.
So, in 1995, when the hospital was approached about buying and operating a Fairlawn practice from a retiring physician, the plan for Children’s Hospital Physician Associates (now called Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics or ACHP) was solidified.
Initially one of the major selling points for physicians interested in joining ACHP was the shared call between offices. Physicians who were used to being on call every few nights now only had to take call every 5 weeks at a minimum.
Another advantage, a 24/7 phone triage line (now called Children’s After Hours) staffed by nurses screened evening calls eliminating the frequent need to disrupt the physicians at home.
For ACHP’s current medical director, Dr. Jennifer Dwyer, those perks were quite appealing.
“I liked the idea of taking care of my patients and not having to worry about the business end of things like dealing with insurance companies,” she said.
“We are constantly evaluating what we can do to meet and exceed our patient’s needs,” said Ben Teske, operations director of ACHP. “We’ve added evening and weekend hours at most of the offices and are evaluating the use of more walk-in appointment times. ACHP also offers online access to medical records and scheduling through MyChart.”
With the newest ACHP location opening in Richland County in Ontario, hospital leaders look at geographical regions where they can connect with more families who need pediatric services.
As the healthcare landscape continues to change, ACHP physicians have learned to adapt.
“I spend more time on chronic disease management and prevention,” said Dr. Dwyer. “It takes more time, but in the long run it will help save healthcare dollars.”
“The longevity and success of ACHP proves it’s one of the most important things Children’s has ever done,” said Howard.
Go on a virtual tour of the 23 offices.