Silicon Valley Primary Care Clinics Begin Offering Patients Same-Day Appointments
Several primary care clinics in Silicon Valley have begun to move away from the traditional patient scheduling system and instead offer patients appointments for the same day that they call, the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal reports. The Santa Clara Valley Hospital and Health System, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and the Camino Medical Group either have implemented same-day access systems or plan to do so by the end of the year. Under traditional scheduling systems, patients often must wait to see doctors unless they are "very ill" and at times will seek other care or do not receive care at all while waiting for the appointment date to arrive. About 5% of doctors offices nationwide have implemented the no-advance-scheduling system, and the "concept is growing in popularity," Jonathan Small, a spokesperson for the Institute for Health Care Improvement said. Same-day access appointment systems were first used in California by Kaiser Permanente clinics around the Sacramento area. Although clinics throughout the Kaiser network initially scheduled no appointments except ones for follow-up care, they now are scheduling more appointments. "We found there was a significant number of people who wanted to schedule an appointment and plan their life around it," Dr. Robert Pearl, executive director and CEO of Permanente Medical Group, said. Stanford University's clinic system, which last October began scheduling appointments only for follow-up care, has found that since implementing the new system, patient calls to nurses dropped 75%, the number of patients who hang up while on hold dropped from 7% to 1% and the "no show" rate dropped to 4% from 15% (May, Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, 3/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.