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September 27, 2004
EVIP program meeting customer needs at 95% rate
BY debra bloom
Imagine starting a new business, and within the first six months of operation, 95 percent of customers have had their needs met. Even better—now imagine those customers are Emory employees.
This “new business” actually is a service that provides rapid access to an Emory Clinic physician and is exclusively for University and Emory Healthcare employees and their families. Tagged EVIP (Employee VIP),
the special phone number Emory employees use to get an “ASAP” appointment with an Emory physician connotes that they are important patients to the clinic.
While not every 8-EVIP (the full number is 404-778-EVIP, or 8-3847) caller needs a same-day appointment, 95 percent of those who have followed the scheduling process have had their appointment needs met, either by having an appointment expedited or having questions satisfactorily answered for them. For Chief Operating Officer Don Brunn and other clinic administrators and physicians, the 95 percent figure is encouraging but not surprising.
“We created the EVIP program for two reasons,” Brunn said. “We want our own faculty and staff to have access to the very best medical care available when they need to see a doctor. You are the best, you work for the best—we want you to come to the best providers for your health care needs. And we want to schedule the requested appointment as quickly as is medically necessary. We strive to please
100 percent of our employees’ needs, and we knew with this
program we had a winner.
“Frankly, at times, there has been the perception that appointments were tough to get at the clinic,” Brunn continued. “We’re changing that and giving employees the extra attention so they can schedule an appointment quickly—at least within a medically appropriate timeframe.”
When making a physician appointment, employees are asked to call the appropriate clinic section scheduler directly. “We want employees to tell the appointment scheduler that they are Emory employees,” Brunn explained. “If the employee doesn’t receive an appointment within a timeframe that he or she thinks is medically appropriate, then 8-EVIP is the next step.”
The 8-EVIP number goes directly to HealthConnection, and the call is answered by a nurse who can assist the employee in making an appointment that could even be sooner than originally thought.
“It is evident that the vast majority of Emory employees call the section scheduler directly,” said Lori McLelland, director of HealthConnection. “Our schedulers know to give appointments to them as soon as is possible and medically appropriate.”
Since January, McLelland reported receiving about 400 EVIP-related calls, 82 in August alone. She said Emory employees also are using the 8-EVIP number to get more information; more than 80 percent of calls this year were informational requests, McLelland said.