“Get in. Get out. Get well.” That’s the motto at Harbor Town’s neighborhood medical clinic, Harbor of Health. The clinic staff prides itself on offering quick and easy same-day appointments, and the goal is to get patients in, seen by the doctor, and on their way out in 45 minutes to an hour. “Our average is 45 minutes, and we really try to hold to that,” says Dr. Susan Nelson, who is one of two medical providers at Harbor of Health.
Many people have experienced the frustration of trying to make an appointment with a primary care physician and having to wait weeks to be seen. That’s never the case with Harbor of Health. Patients have access to quick, same-day treatment, and they’re also able to enjoy a unique, comfortable doctor’s office experience. The clinic’s design — which was brought to life by architects Looney Ricks Kiss — takes advantage of the beautiful setting of Harbor Town, with the specific aim of making patients feel comfortable.
Large windows allow in natural light. Medical equipment is tucked away in the nursing stations. Some patients have even compared it to the interior of a spa. “It’s really designed with the patient in mind to try to make the experience slightly less traumatic, as much as we can, though we are still the doctor,” Nelson says.
The clinic opened in 2005 to fill a need for the growing Harbor Town community. At the time, one of the only missing pieces for this riverside neighborhood was a doctor. Now, with Harbor of Health, patients of all ages can receive everything from immunizations to physicals to the treatment of illnesses. “Other than delivering babies,” says Nelson, “we basically do any general medical care that you would need.”
Though patients come from all over the city, many live at Harbor Town and walk or ride their bikes to the clinic. “I think one of the visions for Harbor of Health was that you don’t have to drive out east for your appointment. If you have to take off half a day to go to your doctor, that’s not very convenient.” Nelson herself appreciates the clinic’s location: She can walk to the river during lunch or grab a quick bite to eat at one of the neighborhood’s restaurants.
Harbor of Health, a clinic of University of Tennessee Medical Group, was the first private practice in Memphis to be certified as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH). “This is a national recognition for a practice that’s patient-centered,” Nelson says. “To be certified, you have to keep very high standards of same-day access, coordinating specialty care, and encouraging patients to manage their own health. And we’ve worked hard to achieve that.”