Pediatric Hospital Reduces Wait Time for Genetic Services


Demand for Genetics Strains Resources

One of the largest pediatric healthcare networks in the nation, Valley Children’s Healthcare (VCH) cares for families across central California, with 7 million people in its service area. Like many genetics programs, VCH had more patient demand than it could support, receiving over 50 referrals per day from more than 3,000 providers in the region.

Difficulty recruiting and retaining genetics professionals to its rural location further stretched its ability to maintain service levels. This resulted in a growing backlog of patients waiting 6 to 12 months to see a genetics provider.

Seeking to continue delivery of high-quality, timely genetics care VCH sought external support. VCH chose to partner with Genome Medical to support its internal genetics team through telehealth genetic counseling and genetic test ordering.

Telehealth Genetic Services Augment Delivery Model

As one of only 3 genetics programs in the region, patients had to drive on average 4 hours round trip to reach the hospital. Genome Medical’s telehealth delivery was an ideal solution to provide care right in a patient’s home or wherever was convenient, overcoming travel time and expenses, and other barriers to access genetics services.

Genome Medical also provided genetics expertise across multiple specialties beyond pediatrics, allowing VCH to expand its service offerings to support adults that were referred as well.

“Genome Medical has provided a seamless extension of the medical genetics services offered in the Central Valley of California. Our partnership has enhanced patient access to care through innovative telemedicine solutions.”



Extended Service Through Tech & Strategy

Leveraging its Epic electronic medical record system, VCH seamlessly sent referrals and shared patient records with Genome Medical, reducing manual processes. In addition, through the partnership, the teams collaborated to develop innovative clinical workflows that enabled VCH to see more patients. The new workflows also provided increased autonomy for VCH’s genetic counselors. This improved job satisfaction and genetic counselor retention.

Previously, all patients had an in-person visit with a VCH pediatric geneticist for a physical examination first. This created a bottleneck for staff, causing long delays. By examining each indication to determine if an in-person visit was required and the type of provider needed, VCH developed a patient triage process between their genetics team and Genome Medical’s telegenetics team. Once implemented, VCH and Genome Medical teams met monthly to discuss continuous process improvements.

Reducing Wait & Expanding Access

After triaging the 1,000 patient backlog based on the new workflows, more than 600 patients that had been waiting 2-3 years for an appointment were referred to Genome Medical’s telehealth genetics team. Working together the teams eliminated the backlog in just six months and established the workflow that enables VCH to meet the growing demand for pediatric and adult genetic services.

Chart showing data on access to care