Lancaster Concierge Service
Carolyn Gorman, MBA, CMPE
In August 2015, Lancaster General Health (LG Health) proudly joined the Penn Medicine health system. To kick off the partnership, we collaborated with LG Health representatives to evaluate the referral process between the two health systems and identify areas for improvement.
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.
We piloted a concierge referral line to test our assumption that reducing barriers across these five areas would improve patient and provider satisfaction and increase successful referrals. Patients calling the line received assistance with scheduling, finances and insurance, and travel.
During 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 who had 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.
The service helped facilitate seamless experiences for nearly 2,000 patients in its first full year.
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 sprang 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.