Penn Medicine Case Study
DocASAP meets the demand of the modern patient through online appointment scheduling
Recognized as one of the nation’s best hospitals by U.S. News and World Report and as a prestigious academic medical institution, Penn Medicine sought out a way to better connect their physicians to the modern patient. In coordination with Clinical Care Associates, Penn Medicine’s employed primary and specialty care physician group, Penn Medicine saw the immediate need to improve patient access, attract new patients and increase patient retention.
“We pursued changes to our long-standing, traditional appointment process,” said Ronald Barg, MD, executive director, Clinical Care Associates. “We implemented a new platform aimed at supporting patients’ scheduling needs at their convenience. The patient demand was for the ability to see the right physician, at the right place and at the right time.”
Penn Medicine made its EMR implementation and utilization a top priority by utilizing Epic’s scheduling module for existing patients, MyChart. While this solution sufficed for existing patients through its portal, myPennMedicine, DocASAP provided Penn Medicine, with a tool to draw in new patients, reach patients from diverse digital pathways (health plans or healthcare content sites), and manage intake for specialists or ancillary services.
“We decided to pursue this platform as a strategy aimed at welcoming new patients,” said Steven Bisha, director, Operations, Penn Medicine’s Clinical Care Associates. “We knew there was an opportunity to further align our current processes with new technology.”
DocASAP partnered with Penn Medicine to connect the health system’s patients with optimal care providers. The engagement included implementing an online appointment scheduling system that integrated with Penn Medicine’s EMR, Epic.
The Shift In Control of Physicians’ Schedules
DocASAP worked closely with Penn Medicine’s operations team to digitize unique, sophisticated scheduling protocols, a process that is critical for online scheduling with primary and specialty care physicians. Within less than a month, the online scheduling platform was up and running. The health system started seeing appointment bookings from the very beginning and saw the continuation of a few appointments per physician every month. With this increase in appointment volume, physician adoption grew.
Customized Workflows for Process Improvement
In working side-by-side with operations and the scheduling team, DocASAP was able to develop Penn Medicine specific criteria to navigate the patient to the correct physician and appointment time during the scheduling process. “It was not only important for us to keep the experts at DocASAP accountable for developing these complex workflows for our primary care and specialty physicians, but we had to keep ourselves honest by taking a detailed look into our entire scheduling protocols and processes and identify areas that could be improved,” said Dr. Barg.
After three months from implementation, the health system experienced a positive ROI. Instead of staff spending five to ten minutes on the phone with a patient during the scheduling process while experiencing high call volumes, patients were able to book an appointment within less than a minute. A live chat capability allowed patients to ask questions during the booking process if they had any issues, most being about insurance information as opposed to the actual booking process.
DocASAP has supported some of the many factors that influence how Penn Medicine attracts, engages and retains patients. With a multi-modal approach to booking an appointment, patients can search for a physician or location and book directly on Google, book from the Penn Medicine website or use the myPennMedicine portal if they are an existing patient.
The custom scheduling protocols continue to allow for accurate appointment scheduling with the right physician for the right reasons. Because of this success with specialty physicians, Penn Medicine recently opened up scheduling for its OB/GYN practices which has a more complex algorithm of rules for scheduling with each doctor.
“DocASAP shifted our scheduling process and operations, and influenced how we viewed our internal operational processes,” said Dr. Barg. “The continued success we experience on a monthly and yearly basis is a true testament to our comprehensive efforts to adapt our services to meet the needs of patients.”
In utilizing the DocASAP big data analytics platform, the operations team at Penn Medicine is able to measure patient behavior (demand), such as what visit reasons patients are seeking and when patients need an appointment, and match it with physician availability (supply), such as where schedules are blocked and/or showing limited availability. The robust analytics platform identifies mismatches between supply and demand or lost opportunities such as when patients were unable to schedule because the physician was booked and/or patients were unable to schedule because online booking was not offered. This comprehensive analytics tool has allowed the number of bookings to increase by at least 160 percent annually because the appointment per physician rate more than doubles each year.
Patient Behavior and Demographics
of bookings are made within the same week which help fill empty time slots and fulfill the need for near term appointments
account for physical exams which tend to have a high reimbursement rate and improves patient retention because patients tend to reuse the health system for ancillary services.
of bookings come from patients over the age of 40, an age group that did not grow up with technology in the same way as younger generations but still prefer the online booking process.
of patients are commercially insured, resulting in high reimbursement rates.
Key Performance Metrics
of appointments are booked after hours, adding additional appointments that the health system would not have had without online appointment scheduling
of patients who book online are new patients: Penn Medicine responded to the modern patient by expanding online availability across multiple access better capturing patient demand.
About Penn Medicine
- Region: Philadelphia (50+ practices)
- Type: Academic
- Revenue: $6.7 billion
- Employees: 35,000+
- Hospitals: 9
- Locations using DocASAP: 21
- EMR: Epic
- Website: pennmedicine.org
“DocASAP shifted our scheduling process and operations, and influenced how we viewed our internal operational processes. The continued success we experience on a monthly and yearly basis is a true testament to the necessity of evolving our service to meet the needs of the modern patient.”Ronald Barg, MD, Executive Director, Clinical Care Associates