The Doctor Will See You — Now

Imagine calling your doctor in the morning and getting an appointment that very day. Mind-blowing? Maybe. But with an average 63-day wait for an appointment with a family physician in the Boston area, some doctors are beginning to experiment with same day visits, or "open access," scheduling, according to a story in today's Boston Globe.

Reporter Catherine Arnst profiles Worcester doctor Dennis Dimitri, who switched to open access scheduling four years ago. The concept, developed 20 years ago by a California doctor, is "to get today's work done today," and not wait for medical problems to fester, she writes.

Patients appear to be happy with the reduced wait time, both for appointments and once they get to the doctor's office, Arnst reports, although some grumbled that they preferred advanced appointments they could schedule around.

Such results are beginning to catch the attention of wary doctors, said Boston consultant David E. Williams, cofounder of MedPharma Partners LLC. He said the new health law could start nudging physicians toward open access by providing pay-for-performance bonuses.

“One of the things patients hate most are waiting times for appointments and waiting times in the office,’’ said Williams. “When doctors start getting measured on their performance, I think they will become more accepting of open access.’’

This program aired on July 14, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Headshot of Rachel Zimmerman

Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



More from WBUR

Listen Live