Michelle Rupp: We’re joined now by Angie Walker. She is the wife of Dr. Randy Walker in DeQueen, where he has a family practice. Angie thanks so much for joining us on AFMC TV. This is exciting. You are actually our first interview virtually. So, we’re excited and isn’t it fitting that we’re talking about health care technology and we’re using it? I’m curious. Share with us some of the struggles, first of all, with health care technology that you guys have experienced because it hasn’t always been rainbows and gumdrops.

Angie Walker: No. Living in a rural area, our access to the Internet is extremely limited. There are days that we have great Internet. There’s days that 3:00 comes, the kids get home from school and it doesn’t move. There’s days that it rains and it doesn’t work. So that one is a big one for us as far as technology goes because we’re electronic medical records. We’ve never had a paper chart and so that that’s one of our biggest issues.

MR: You guys have used technology before though. Pre-pandemic, technology has been a big focus of the practice there.

AW: If our IT people say we need it, we’re doing it because we know that this is this is where  health care is moving. Especially in a rural area. We don’t have access to the specialties, to the testing, to the different things and we know for us to be able to have access to that and give access to our patients, we’re going to have to pull technology in. I mean that has to be a weighted factor. There’s no other way to do it.

MR: How long have you guys been on, kind of the forefront here of technology? 

AW: I would love to say forever. I mean it’s kind of been our, you know, when Dr. Walker opened practice in 2003, it was never a question about a paper chart. It was always electronic medical records. We were one of the first practices to do meaningful use, moving through all stages of it. We do a lot of demo stuff for eClinical Works when we’re when they’re looking at different modules, we’re always going to be the first one to raise our hand and say yes, we want to do it, because we know that we’re helping to shape what’s going to happen. You know, you can’t really complain about it if you didn’t jump up and participate in molding it into what it needs to be.

MR: Yeah. Talk a little about how your patients have embraced the health care technology or, or not

AW: Pre-covid you had that demographic that like that, you know that 30- to 40-year-old they’re working. They’re busy. They just want to do a telehealth visit and move forward. Now we’re on the backside of that. We’re actually trying to do policy. And you know, what’s it going to look like for our clinic and managing those patients going forward? What things are we going to be able to deal with via telehealth? And what are those things that were like? No, that’s really an office visit.

MR: And my last question, I’m also curious what type of notifications does your office send out as it relates to, maybe it’s time for a checkup or maybe it’s time for those immunizations. You know, we’re in August now. School is starting in a matter of days. And for some in a matter of hours it probably feels like. And so, some of those last minute checkups, are you guys able to send those reminders via text message?

AW: Absolutely. So, within our system we have what’s called campaigns. We set those up a lot of times. We set them up annually. But, there are times when we’re looking at creating them, depending on what’s going on, and we set those up on the back end and it will identify those patients that fall within that demographic, whether it’s time for a physical, it’s time for a wellness visit or you missed a vaccine and automatically sends those out for us. It’s amazing how technology is now playing such a big role in our lives