Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation

New Patient Load Balancing

Load balancing between two practices decreased time to appointment from as much as 4 weeks to several days.


Access to primary care is critical to the health of our patients and community. Long wait times for primary care appointments, particularly for new patients, lead to cancellations, no shows, and the loss of patients to other health systems.

Penn Medicine has a large network of primary care practices in and around the Philadelphia area. Some practices are at full capacity, resulting in increased wait times for new patients. However other Penn primary care practices are in demand of new patients.


We set up a short-term experiment to see what impact load balancing might have. Practice managers and call center supervisors gave nineteen call center representatives the ability to schedule appointments at both CPUP practices and Rittenhouse CCA starting on December 28, 2012. This load balancing effort was aimed at redirecting new patients from the overcapacity CPUP practices to the underutilized CCA clinic.


In two months the experiment yielded impressive results. Almost 150 new patient appointments were scheduled. Time to appointment went from around 4 weeks to a few days. Most importantly, patients showed up to their appointments and many continue to receive their primary care at the CCA practice.

We then revisited the project several months later to discover that a total of 905 new appointments had been scheduled over a ten month period using this load balancing process. Two new physicians at Penn Medicine Rittenhouse had very little patient volume prior to this intervention, and after the redistribution they have large, robust patient panels that bring additional revenue to Penn Medicine.


Brenda Martinez
Practice Manager
Department of Internal Medicine Division, Hospital of the University Of Pennsylvania

Mychele King
Practice Manager
Penn Care at Rittenhouse Clinical Care Associates

Tiffany Smith
Supervisor for Ambulatory Scheduling Operations,
Office of Patient Access, Clinical Practices of the University Of Pennsylvania

Full Case Study:
> Load Balancing Project Report

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