Penn Medicine


Right Paths


As health care moves from fee-for-service to growing levels of risk-bearing contracts, providers must become increasingly sophisticated in their approaches to control costs while continuing to provide exceptional quality of care and patient experience.

Projects under the Center’s Right Paths umbrella seek to answer foundational questions about how to identify, engage, and reroute patients to higher value care.  


Our initial pilot, FirstCall focuses on urgent care. 

FirstCall is a 24/7 virtual urgent care service that connects Penn Medicine employees with providers via phone, chat, or video. 

FirstCall providers offer medical advice, write prescriptions for acute issues when appropriate, and schedule in-person appointments for users. 

As of December 1, FirstCall also offers expedited access to emergency department (ED) locations at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.

To date, email announcements were sent to 4,500 Penn Medicine employees, posters with business cards were aimed at 2,700 employees, and FirstCall branded first aid kits and tissue boxes were aimed at 900 employees to promote the service.

The primary purpose of this FirstCall pilot is to evaluate the ability of a virtual urgent care service to reduce employee health costs by decreasing unnecessary ED, primary care and specialty care visits.


The FirstCall pilot is still underway, but early results are promising.  As of December 13, we’ve received 34 calls, of which 28 were eligible for the service.

Of eligible callers:

  • 0% were routed to the ED
  • 4% were routed to urgent care clinics
  • 46% were scheduled for an in-person visit
  • 43% were determined to only need self-care advice
  • 25% reported that they would have gone to the ED if FirstCall were not available

Stay tuned! We'll share a comprehensive summary of results and lessons learned after the pilot concludes.


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Philadelphia, PA 19104 

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