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New downtown Tucson health clinic offers a different patient experience
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New downtown Tucson health clinic offers a different patient experience

At this doctor’s office, patients are not handed reams of paperwork to fill out on a clipboard. That’s old school.

And being out of luck if you can’t get there during work hours? That’s outdated, too.

HealthOn Broadway, 1 W. Broadway, will hold its official opening on Monday.

The clinic is in leased space on the first floor of a six-story building called One West on the southwest corner of Broadway and Stone Avenue, along the streetcar line. The third to sixth floors are apartments, and the second floor is parking for residents.

The primary-care clinic is the result of a partnership between El Rio Health and Tucson Medical Center. Officials want it to be a place where people who work or live downtown can make their “medical home.” It’s not an urgent care center, they emphasize. The clinic takes all forms of insurance, including Medicaid and Medicare.

HealthOn Broadway’s lobby — bright, airy and modern — sets the tone for the clinic’s approach. Officials say the goal is to make getting health care as easy as possible.

“It changes the patient experience in profound ways,” said Brenda Goldsmith, executive director of the El Rio Health Center Foundation.

Here are some of the innovations HealthOn Broadway has that aren’t always seen in primary-care offices:


A computerized freestanding kiosk in the lobby is where new and existing patients sign in. That means no clipboards, pens or papers to fill out. The kiosk includes a scanner for insurance cards and identification, a camera for patient identification, and a place to pay and get a receipt.

Dialogue rooms

Not all health care is about wearing a paper gown and sitting on an exam table. So HealthOn Broadway has set up comfy rooms without exam tables, where patients can talk to providers about issues like test results and health goals, and also other concerns such as domestic abuse and where to get social services.

Classes on site

A conference room at the clinic doubles as an exercise room where patients will be able to take classes with names such as “Better Backs,” “Heal Yourself,” “Tai Chi Harmony” and “Yoga for Anxiety and Depression.”

Health coaches

There are no medical assistants employed at HealthOn Broadway. The employees consist of doctors, nurses (including family nurse practitioners), lab assistants, a radiology technician and a behavioral health consultant.

All employees must go through health coach training and certification via Real Balance Global Wellness Services.

Health coaching is about helping patients to reach their goals, said Zacharias Knickerbocker, an El Rio regional director, registered nurse and health coach at HealthOn Broadway.

“Ultimately you are the decision maker,” he said. “I help and support you in your journey.”

Virtual appointments

It’s not up and running yet, but the clinic expects to have an app very soon called El Rio Health Virtual. The app will allow patients to book appointments, including virtual appointments where they don’t have to go into the clinic to see a provider. They can do it via their smartphone, tablet or computer.

Hours for busy people

Officials with El Rio and TMC say they don’t want people to have to take time off work to get their health care. That’s why HealthOn Broadway has hours that fit in with busy lives — 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

Contact health reporter Stephanie Innes at 573-4134 or email On Twitter: @stephanieinnes

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