June 16, 2011
By Rob Barry
Area residents enjoyed bruschetta, fried ravioli and one-on-one chats with Hallmark Health physicians at Pizzeria Regina last month when the company hosted its third Match.doc event, a service designed to allow those seeking a new primary care doctor to meet a few local physicians in a relaxed, conversational manner.
With three doctors in attendance, people came with questions and several left with appointments already set up.
The more conventional method of seeking primary care often involves much trial and error, said Dr. Albert Fine, MD, a physician with Hallmark Health.
“You have no idea in advance as to how you’re going to relate to the practitioner as a patient,” said Fine. “This kind of event gives a patient an opportunity to meet with multiple personality types and find a match.”
The Match.doc event creates a relaxed atmosphere for potential patients, said Fine, which takes the edge off what can otherwise be a less comfortable process.
“You can find a doctor online, but you don’t get to interact with them before an appointment,” said Tom Anderson, Hallmark Health physician liaison and event organizer. “Match.doc is a kind of speed dating approach to finding a doctor.”
It can also be difficult to find primary care doctors that accept Mass Health insurance, which tends to offer lower reimbursements for physicians.
After the first two events in Somerville and Malden, more than 20 patients were matched to doctors, said Jesse Kawa, a communications specialist with Hallmark Health.
The idea for Match.doc came about when one of the committee members saw a similar event held by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), said Kawa. Hallmark quickly pursued the idea with great enthusiasm.
“We want to do these every couple of months in different communities,” said Kawa.