NYC Health + Hospitals reduced wait times, improved care continuity in pilot program

NYC Health + Hospitals is expanding a primary care scheduling program to its ambulatory care practices after using it successfully at its Bellevue location in New York City to cut new patient wait times by 73 percent and to help improve continuity between physicians and patients. 

NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue cut new patient wait times down to 14 days from 52 days, and revisit times are less than one week. It has also improved the patient-physician continuity rate from 69.9 percent to 87.1 percent, meaning patients are more likely to see the same provider each time they visit.

The patient-centered scheduling pilot involved rewriting call center scripts to emphasize continuity and reworking appointment templates to match the new scripts. The call center previously prioritized booking patients in the next available slot, rather than with a provider they had previously seen. Now, if a patient's primary care physician is unavailable, that patient will book an appointment with an advanced practice provider on that physician's team.

The system also notes a transition to the Epic EHR helped improve the appointment booking process by enabling patients to book appointments online through a patient portal.  

More articles on integration and physician issues:

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Time constraints, work demands undermine physicians' self-care, survey find
How to change the conversation on burnout: 4 questions with Ascension Medical Group CMO Dr. Baligh Yehia

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