Sometimes, your health care can't wait. Sure, you can plan your annual physical months in advance, but what if you wake up one morning with a burning, sore throat? Or what if that hacking cough you've had seems to have become bronchitis? For either ailment, you're probably not sick enough to go to an emergency room, but you're not sure you'll be able to get a same-day appointment with your regular physician.
You can be sure if you choose a St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO) primary care physician.
How it works
At SJMO, we're leading southeast Michigan in patient care. This means using cutting-edge diagnostic technologies such as a 64-slice CT (computerized tomography) scan and transcranial Doppler ultrasonography to analyze blood flow to the brain. It also means reviewing and revising processes, such as our new Emergency Center process that allows us to get you seen by a doctor and started on treatment within 20 minutes. Scheduling same-day appointments is another such process improvement.
"Participating primary care physicians are reserving appointments each day for patients requesting same-day scheduling," says Donald Bignotti, M.D., vice president of medical affairs at SJMO. It's simple: If you call for an appointment before noon, you'll get one the same day. If you call after noon, then you'll be seen the following business day.
Lower health care costs
Same-day scheduling might also contribute to lower health care costs.
"Treatment is most effective and less costly when physicians can see patients at the first signs of illness," Dr. Bignotti says.
And one of the causes of the high costs of health care is unnecessary trips to the emergency room.
"As many as 50 percent of the patients we see in the emergency room could be seen at a primary care physician's office," says Mary Jo Malafa, M.D., medical director of the SJMO Emergency Center. The average emergency room visit means a copay cost of about $50 to $75, compared with $10 or $15 for a visit to a primary care doctor's office.
Call SJMO today
Today "The real benefit of same-day scheduling is that patients will be healthier and happier," Dr. Bignotti says. "If people know they'll get quick appointments, the reasoning goes, they're less likely to ignore their health problems."
To schedule an appointment with an SJMO primary care physician, call 800-372-6094.