Children’s Direct offers convenient access to St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s services and Washington University pediatric specialists through its simple scheduling and email referral options.

“We basically function as a bridge to a centralized scheduling system for referring physicians,” says Julie Bruns, director of the SLCH Call Center/Children’s Direct. “We partner with all of the Washington University departments and divisions, working with them to understand what is needed to get an appointment scheduled with their specialty. When physicians or their office staff call for appointments, we can immediately let them know what information is required regarding the patient. They then can gather that documentation as we work to schedule the appointment. We also can work with the family to make sure the date and time of their appointment is acceptable and provide any additional directions they may need.”

In addition to calling Children’s Direct, referrals may be made via email. To ensure patient privacy, Children’s Direct will work with providers to set up a secure email transmission.

Sadashivaiah Bhaskar, MD, and his colleagues at Pediatric Group, LLC, in Marion, Ill., frequently use the e-mail option and have established a secure email within the Children’s Direct system specifically for referrals. Dr. Bhaskar outlined the advantages of scheduling appointments using the secure email in a poster presentation made at the 2014 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference held in October in San Diego.

“Referring patients using the Children’s Direct email is a convenient and quick way for us to schedule appointments because we don’t have to spend time providing information over the phone,” he says. “Our most frequent referrals are to gastroenterology, neurology and otolaryngology, and we know exactly what information is needed by those services. In most cases, appointments are arranged the same day we make a request.”

Providers interested in using this option for appointment requests may contact Children’s Direct for more information on setting up a secure email process.

Children’s Direct is a 24-hour-a-day/seven-day-a-week service that provides referring and attending physicians and hospitals with immediate help admitting patients, dispatching the hospital’s transport team, obtaining urgent or routine consultations, scheduling appointments with specialists, or providing patient information.

To talk with a Children’s Direct representative, call 800.678.HELP (4357).