Lancaster Concierge Service

Improving care continuity for patients

Opportunity

In August 2015, Lancaster General Health (LG Health) proudly joined the Penn Medicine health system. As a first step in what promises to be an exciting partnership, we collaborated with LG Health representatives to evaluate the referral process between the two health systems and identify areas for improvement. 

Intervention

We observed and interviewed providers, schedulers, and patients at LG Health and Penn Medicine. Based on observations, we identified five areas an intervention should address: process variation, wait times, travel, care coordination, and communication.

To test our assumption that reducing barriers across these five areas would improve patient and provider satisfaction and increase successful referrals, we piloted a concierge referral line. Patients calling into the line received assistance with scheduling, finances and insurance, and travel.

Impact

Over the initial pilot course, more than 170 LG Health patients utilized the service to coordinate care at one of Penn Medicine’s downtown locations. Patients reported that the service made an otherwise daunting process feel personal and that having one point of contact provided peace of mind.

The line also served as a single point of contact for providers from both entities with questions about the referral process, which allowed operational leads to identify gaps in service that needed to be addressed or improved.

In January 2016, our pilot program transitioned into a permanent offering known as the Penn Medicine Concierge Referral Service.  Providers interested in making a referral or requesting concierge assistance for patients can reach Lancaster-based liaisons Monday through Friday at 215-834-4656.

In its first full year, the Penn Medicine Concierge Referral Service helped facilitate seamless experiences for close to 2,000 patients.

Phase 3: How we work
Collaborators

Carolyn Gorman, MBA, CMPE

Innovation leads

Caro Garzon Mrad, MSE
Maggie Debski
Roy Rosin, MBA

Innovation Methods

The concierge
A concierge provides hands-on, efficient, and proactive services for customers.
 
Similar to the concept of walking in someone's shoes, a concierge walks alongside someone and helps them get things done.
 
Acting as a concierge or high-touch helper for a small sample of people will enable you to get deep into the reality of their journey and learn about the barriers they face, because like a real concierge, you'll help them navigate those barriers. You can also test solutions in real time as you explore the problem space in context.
The concierge
During the initial pilot, members of our team staffed the referral line. Working in shifts, we fielded calls from patients and provided support as needs arose.
 
For example, when a patient shared that they were feeling overwhelmed about navigating from 30th Street Station to the building where their appointment would occur, we sprung into action - meeting them in-person when their train arrived so that we could escort them to their appointment. 
 
Piloting this concierge service helped us learn quickly about the concerns and needs of patients being referred to downtown locations for appointments.  We used insights from this high-touch pilot to inform the final product.