CHA Launches Open Access Scheduling for Surgery


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – As part of ongoing efforts to improve patients’ experience of care, Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), an academic community health system serving Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north region, has launched open access scheduling in its Department of Surgery. Patients can now be seen same- or next-day for surgical evaluations on the CHA hospital campus of their choice (Cambridge, Somerville or Whidden (Everett)).

Michael Wertheimer, MD, CHA’s interim chief of surgery, first introduced open access during his time at UMass Memorial Medical Center. Observing the immense success of the program, he implemented this system at CHA when he founded the Cambridge Breast Center in 2005 and found that patients appreciated the accessibility. “Open access is the ultimate in patient-focused care,” said Dr. Wertheimer. “It provides high-quality service, superior communications and accessibility to physicians like never before.”

CHA launched open access in its Division of General Surgery last summer with great success and, this January, rolled it out to all other Divisions in its Department of Surgery (ENT, Urology, Breast, Vascular and Podiatry). To access same- or next-day appointments at all surgical clinic sites at CHA following a primary care visit, patients and providers may call the Department of Surgery Call Center at 617-665-2555.

“I had a patient diagnosed with an early stage of breast cancer who was able to get the tumor removed three days later where, in the past, it would take at least two weeks,” said Kirsten Meisinger, MD, regional medical director at CHA. “This is a perfect case of open access ensuring the patient was seen quickly, and she is thrilled with the care she received."

CHA Surgery Team

CHA General Surgery Team. Left to Right: Erika Fellinger, Ketan Sheth, David Becker, Arundhati Ghosh, Marissa Anderson, Moon Kwoun (Vascular Surgery), Catharine Crawford