The idea, which experts say is gaining steam, is that scheduling patients immediately for even routine physicals will keep them healthier and happier, while saving money in the long run. If people know they’ll get quick appointments, the reasoning goes, they’re less likely to ignore their health problems, which will reduce costly emergency-room visits.
“We’ve seen it work in every kind of clinic imaginable,” said Marie Schall, a training director at the Boston-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement, an organization pushing for same-day service, known in the industry as “open access.”
I’d love for this to really catch on, but I’m also afraid I’d starve to death. As much as all of us in the ED gripe about ‘urgent care’ patients with complaints that could easily be handled by their doctor, we also know that they pay the bills. Multi-trauma doesn’t pay the bills, and the few deaths-door patients we see wouldn’t pay to keep the lights on, so we need the urgent care patients.
I like the idea, though.