Urgent Care Access

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Department of Public Health

FY 2019-20
Target: 95% of patients connected to urgent care the same day or next day
Target Status:

FY 2018-19
Average: 95% of patients connected to urgent care the same day or next day

Urgent care appointment access measures the percent of patients within the San Francisco Health Network (SFHN) who, in an urgent care setting, are connected to their primary care doctor or medical home, a telephone-based medical provider, or an after-hours medical appointment the same or next day. The SFHN aims to see all patients within a reasonable timeframe, and to improve access to urgent care at a patient’s the medical home.

Established in June 2013, the SFHN is a comprehensive system of care, overseen by the Department of Public Health (DPH), which includes primary and specialty care, dentistry, emergency and trauma treatment, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, and behavioral health. The SFHN is made up of the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, as well as numerous DPH-run primary care clinics throughout the City.


How the Department of Public Health is Performing

The SFHN has placed an operational emphasis on improving access for new patient and urgent care appointments and is working towards meeting patients’ service needs, which may or may not include the need for an appointment. The SFHN’s Primary Care Leadership Team is looking at service access for all types of patient needs in the medical home –new, urgent, routine and over the phone. Primary Care partners closely with and schedules urgent appointments for SFHN patients at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Urgent Care Clinic and Tom Waddell Urgent Care Clinics.

The SFHN Primary Care team is taking a number of steps to improve access, including but not limited to, developing patient access dashboards for each primary care clinic and developing workflow standards across all SFHN clinics. The SFHN Primary Care Leadership Team has four additional strategies to improve access for patients. First, SFHN primary care clinics are staffed according to the patient panel to ensure clinics are adequately staffed to meet patients’ appointment requests. Second, patient panel size targets are set for all primary care providers with the intention of creating enough appointment availability to meet patient demand. Third, the SFHN Primary Care Leadership Team is currently in the process of hiring Practice Managers in all clinics to serve as process-oriented, data-driven members of the Primary Care management team. Finally, the new Ambulatory Care Centralized Call Center came online in May 2015. It began accepting calls for Southeast Health Center and continues to expand to receive calls for other primary care clinics. A planned call center expansion to further increase service levels is dependent on the fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget.

How Performance is Measured

This is a monthly metric representative of all 11 general population primary care clinics in the SFHN. It represents SFHN primary care patients provided with a same or next day appointment at the patient’s primary medical home, a telephone-based medical appointment, or an urgent care appointment at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Urgent Care Clinic or the Tom Waddell Urgent Care Clinic, as a percentage of all SFHN primary care patients that have an urgent care need when calling in to their clinic. When patients report an urgent care need, patients are transferred to the centralized nurse advice line.

The number displayed on the scorecard page represents a fiscal year average of the values in the chart above.

A previous version of this measure did not include referrals for urgent care appointments at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Urgent Care Clinic or the Tom Waddell Urgent Care Clinic in the calculation, which under-reported patient access to urgent care services.

Additional Information

Learn more about the San Francisco Health Network.


Please click first on the chart above and then click the “Download” button in the bottom right corner of the visualization to view and download the data displayed in the chart.