An Interview With Tom Poole Of Beth Israel Medical Group


At ZocDoc, we are extremely proud of the organizations we work with, and their commitment to making patient care more accessible. We recently sat with Tom Poole, Vice President of Continuum Medical Groups, to discuss the Beth Israel Medical Group and its role in healthcare in New York City.

How long have you worked as an executive in the health care? I’ve been in health-care for over 20 years and have been at the Beth Israel Medical Group since 2006.

What is Beth Israel Medical Group? The Beth Israel Medical Group is part of Beth Israel Medical Center’s ambulatory care network with several locations throughout the City providing primary care, and medical and surgical subspecialties.  One thing that sets our Group apart is that we offer same day access and extended hours.  In fact, our office at 23rd Street and 7th Avenue is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How long has Beth Israel Medical Group been in operation? The Medical Group was originally branded as DOCS and has been a part of Beth Israel Medical Center’s ambulatory care network since the mid-90s.

The closure of St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center was a major shakeup to healthcare in the West Village.  How has that affected the Beth Israel Medical Group’s relationship with the community? The closure of St. Vincent’s significantly diminished patients’ access to ambulatory care in and around the West Village. Beth Israel and Continuum Health Partners recognized well before St. Vincent’s closed that there would be a need for ambulatory services in the West Village and committed the resources early on to fill the void.  Consequently, we opened a Medical Group office on 14th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues that provides primary care services to adults and children, and has an expanded schedule that includes evening and weekends hours.

How does the Beth Israel Medical Group emphasize patient access? There are several ways. Our offices are open evenings, weekends, and holidays; and as I noted earlier, our office at 23rd Street and 7th Avenue is open 24 hours, 7 days a week 365 days a year.  In addition, all of our offices offer same-day access for appointments and walk-ins. We are doing all that we can to make sure that patients have access to care when they need it and without going to a hospital emergency room.

Keeping your barriers to service low sounds like a real benefit to the patients. One of the reasons we utilize online scheduling with ZocDoc is that we recognized that more and more consumers are using the internet to find, review, and purchase goods and services; and that this is no longer exclusive to consumer goods, but includes health-care.  It was logical that the next step would be the convenience of booking a doctors appointment online. ZocDoc provides free access for booking appointments and it bypasses one of the biggest barriers patients have when trying to contact a physician’s office – the telephone!

So it makes sense to reach out to them this way. Absolutely, patients can find a doctor online and book an appointment twenty-four hours a day.  You don’t have to wait for the doctor’s office to open to book an appointment.  You can book online when it is convenient for you and you have the peace-of-mind in knowing that it is confidential and secure.

How do you foresee healthcare changing in New York over the next five or ten years? Where are we going? That is almost impossible to predict and it is influenced by multiple factors. However, I think I can predict with some certainty that there will be more and more of a push for care to be delivered on an outpatient basis; and open and expanded access to care is essential.  Otherwise patients will utilize hospital emergency rooms for routine care which is unnecessary, costly, and increases the overall wait for patients that genuinely need the services of an emergency department. The Beth Israel Medical Group provides patients with open access to primary and specialty care; and the ability to book appointments online streamlines the process, and it is truly convenient and beneficial for patients.

Thank you, Tom Poole!

Book an appointment with the Beth Israel Medical Group now!