Hospital uses 'speed dating' model to pair up doctors, patients

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Dallas-Fort Worth has launched Doc Shop, a new marketing program to connect patients with obstetrician-gynecologists modeled after the speed-dating phenomenon that lets single men and women meet multiple potential dates in brief time blocks.

The first doctor-patient "speed-dating" event occurred on Sept. 24, 2009. Two other Doc Shops have already taken place, and seven more are slated to occur this year. The program has been so successful that the hospital is expanding Doc Shop to include pediatricians and may eventually add additional primary care specialists.

Here's how it works: For two 30-minute sessions over a lunch hour, five to six physicians sit at tables and meet roughly a dozen patients who rotate through. Every five minutes, the patients move to the next physician. Doc Shop is designed as a low-cost way to bring patients to the hospital's affiliated physicians, and it is best-suited to primary care where patient-physician personality matches are most important. Doc Shop is free to patients, and participating physicians aren't paid for their time.

To learn more about doctor-patient dating:
- read this American Medical News article