If you missed this year’s UC 2019, you might wonder if it’s worth the bother of registering for another conference – especially if PCC’s home base of Burlington, VT is at a distance from your practice’s day-to-day business.
It is worth it! Jen Loiselle and Lynne Gratton are two PCC’ers among many who worked hard behind the scenes to make sure another UC was a resounding success for pediatricians and their practice staff. They had insights into why clients keep attending the UC, thoughts on UC 2020, and why the conference is a valuable experience for your practice.
How a Pediatrics Conference is Created
Jen Loiselle, SHRM-CP has been with PCC for 23 years, and while her official title is Staff Accountant, she wears many hats, including two for the UC. “My role gets divided. So, early on it's to find the hotel, book the space. Then there's a big gap for me, where the education team will take over and do all the course planning. Then I come back in much later, as we get closer to conference time, to do the logistics side.”
A crucial part of any successful conference is the opportunity to learn something new. This year, attendees made sure to tell us that the UC had a wonderful selection of courses with and without CEU credits, ranging from industry trends in pediatrics to practice management, to a talk by former AAP president Dr. Colleen Kraft. Some practices wished they could clone themselves (or PCC experts!). Lynne Gratton, CPPM is the leader of the UC Education team, who select and arrange appropriate class content for each UC. A PCC veteran of 29 years, she says she can’t remember when she started helping out at the UC, but she jokes that they raise the bar every year. “[It] always makes me nervous for next year. Everyone at PCC is on the lookout for the next big topic or a great presenter we can add for the following year.”
Learn & Grow with other Independent Pediatricians
Gratton attributes UC 2019’s success to the variety of class topics and formats for providers to attend. “We offer a variety of topics, ranging from PCC staff teaching PCC software, clinicians on panels, as well as outside instructors teaching on industry topics. Classes that carry over are based on course surveys, which is why we always ask clients to respond either via the app or on paper. My favorite class to teach is “Front Desk Best Practices,” because getting a front desk to work efficiently is a passion of mine. I love all of the panel sessions! I love to hear what our clients are doing that puts them on the various panels we have. In the Vaccine Hesitancy panel, I learned how the science supports immunization, and some ways to reasonably and empathetically communicate that to hesitant parents.”
Like Gratton, the attendees enjoyed the opportunity to speak their passions and voice questions in every class, whether it was a panel, round table, or lecture. Vaccinations were an extremely hot topic, as well as Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs. But whether the conversation was the latest in industry trends, speculation on how to reduce no-show rates, or simply the newest developments coming to PCC’s EHR, the UC, guided by PCC’s culture, was an open environment for conversations to happen – which meant that panelists were as likely to ask questions as participants were to offer their advice and experiences.
PCC’ers were excited to share their knowledge and experiences too. Along with several classes detailing the latest in eRx, interoperability, and goals for new releases, PCC also announced their new collaboration with CHADIS, whose software will enable providers to send out pre-screening forms for families to complete before they ever enter the reception room.
Attendees could work through their software questions and the newest developments from PCC in the Open Lab, where practices could walk through the new Appointment Book, ask questions, and learn to optimize their workflows. Loiselle suggests providers can try new things at the Open Lab straight away: “They might have just attended a class and go, ‘Oh, that's fresh in my mind. I want to make that change. I want to go check that out and play with it.’” Practices also have a unique opportunity to take their questions directly to PCC staff members, who can not only answer them, but suggest the best ways to make the EHR work for their office.
To help clinicians grow their businesses, there were classes and discussions on changing your practice’s management, optimizing revenue, and making sure your practice is up to date on the latest legal requirements and the basics of Human Resources. Attendees learned how to address pop-up clinics, negotiate with insurance, and maintain a positive office culture. Let’s not forget, there were plenty of opportunities to grow their practices too – food insecurity and the transition of teens to adult healthcare were popular classes aimed towards providing excellent patient care.
Expert speakers from the field included Susanne Madden of The Verden Group, who taught the course “Positioning your Practice for Direct-to-Employer Contracting,” Paul Vanchiere of the Pediatric Management Institute with “Setting Up Accounts Payable Workflows in Your Office,” and Michelle Ann Richards of Coding & Compliance Experts, LLC with “Is HR Part of Your Practices' Compliance Plan?”. These experts gave valuable insight into the world of pediatric medicine, while members of the PCC team offered courses in the latest from the EHR, developments in process, round tables, and client-led panels, in order to take all of the new ideas from the industry, and translate them into actionable tools in PCC’s EHR.
Of course, networking is a big plus for many pediatric professionals. Every year, PCC hosts the “Big Bash” event, where attendees can mingle, unwind, meet each other and their PCC team.
This year, the Big Bash was a dinner cruise held on the decks of the Spirit of Ethan Allen, which sailed around Lake Champlain Thursday night. Like many others, it was Loiselle’s favorite part of the conference: “The atmosphere was probably the best part. And from our clients, I think they were excited to be down on the lake and to go out, to see the sunset. As I said… it’s their first experience going out on Lake Champlain and on the boat. And even for our local clients that went on it said, ‘I don't do this enough.’”
When considering the success of UC 2019, Loiselle said, “It went wonderfully, as it always does. And that's our goal: to make sure that clients have what they need, when they need it and that they're happy.”
Loiselle’s plans are already extended to UC 2020 and UC 2021. “2020 for me has already started. The contract has already been signed. We know we are here in Vermont next year as well, the week of July 20th. We'll be on the road in 2021. So, this fall we'll start looking for our 2021 location.”
Each year, the conference grows because of the feedback PCC receives from its attendees. Gratton says the best way to give feedback on both the EHR and the User’s Conference is to speak to your Client Advocate. There are also ways to give feedback at the conference itself: “If they attend the Users’ Conference, they can show up at the Wishing Well and speak to a member of Design and Development to share their wishes in detail.”
Attendees can also offer comments and recommendations on classes and topics for next year through the conference survey link which they will receive directly from PCC. PCC’s User’s Conference is our biggest event of the year, bringing hundreds of providers from across the country together for three purposes: to learn, grow, and connect with one another.
Should you attend another conference? If you want to network, earn CEU credits, and take advantage of the educational offerings, and have some fun (and enjoy all of these benefits each year for free, as the UC has no ticket price!), the answer is absolutely, yes.