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Allegheny Health Network Delivers on Commitment to Providing Same-Day Care to Region’s Patients

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

PITTSBURGH – When launching the same-day appointment program last year, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) made a novel yet simple commitment to the region’s patients – those who call 412.DOCTORS between the hours of 7 and 11 a.m. seeking primary or specialty care will be offered an appointment for that same day. In one year’s time, more than 154,000 same-day appointments were scheduled at AHN, setting a new standard for timely access to healthcare in Western Pennsylvania.

According to Kenyokee Crowell, AHN’s Senior Vice President of Clinical Access, nearly 90,000 of the same-day appointments in 2017 were for primary care while approximately 65,000 of them were for specialty care such as women’s care, gastroenterology, orthopaedics and dermatology. In the program’s first year, more than 30,000 same-day appointments were scheduled by patients who were either new to AHN or seeking a new type of care within the Network.

“AHN’s same-day appointment program was born out of our belief that patients should be put in the driver’s seat when it comes to obtaining care. Whether the patient wants to be seen today to address a serious health concern, or prefers to wait until their day off from work next week to address a smaller health issue, it is always the patient’s choice,” said Crowell. 

In health care, says Crowell, this traditionally has not been the case and patients continue to face significant wait times in many markets when seeking care. According to survey results published by Merritt Hawkins, it takes an average of 24 days to schedule a new patient physician appointment in 15 of the largest cities in the U.S., up from 18.5 days in 2014 when the survey was last conducted.

Elie Aoun, MD, AHN Medical Director for Clinical Access and gastroenterologist, says that the same-day appointment program not only provides patients increased access to healthcare services, but also an enhanced level of care.

Dr. Aoun recalls a patient who was recently experiencing severe gastrointestinal symptoms and obtained a same-day appointment at the Allegheny Center for Digestive Health. Imaging revealed a severe infection which required colorectal surgery that took place just days later.

“No matter what a patient’s care path might entail, it is always our desire as caregivers to start them on that path as quickly as possible. The same-day appointment program enables us to do just that, and our patients are healthier for it,” said Dr. Aoun.

AHN is the first and only healthcare provider in the region and among the first nationally to improve the timeliness of healthcare delivery by offering same-day appointments for both primary and specialty care.

Patients can schedule a same-day appointment by calling 412.DOCTORS (412.362.8677) between 7 and 11 a.m., Monday through Friday. Based on the patient’s need, AHN will find the most appropriate healthcare provider and location based on the availability of services. The provider could include a primary care physician, specialty physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Same-day appointments are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.