Same-Day Appointment System Implemented in Health Network
Lessons learned include importance of matching the changing needs of patients, honoring the patient
THURSDAY, July 19, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- A same-day appointment system can feasibly be introduced, according to the experiences of one health network presented in an article published in Managed Healthcare Executive.
Kenyokee Crowell, the senior vice president of Clinical Access at the Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh, reports on the same-day specialty appointment system that was introduced in early 2017. One year on, the program was considered successful, with more than 150,000 same-day appointments provided across more than 20 specialties in 2017. Patient satisfaction was 92 percent for those who had gone through the scheduling process.
Lessons learned included committing to constant evolution to match the changing needs of the customers. Algorithms were developed based on historical data and feedback, which allowed prediction of needs by specialty and by month. Inventory adjustments were needed in both directions after launch; however, if they had waited for perfection, the program would never have been introduced. The voice of the patient should be honored; the program allowed many people to be helped and begin their health care journey sooner. Feedback, whether positive or negative, should be accepted with interest. Engaging so many stakeholders across multiple disciplines is challenging; space should be allowed for discussion and design flexibility in order to launch and sustain such a program.
"Our biggest lesson learned is that we can all do more to build upon our patient-centered approach to access and satisfaction," according to the article. "For too many years, our American health care system -- particularly when it comes to specialty care -- has been built around the preferences and schedules of providers. But what's convenient for us isn't necessarily convenient for patients."