Written by: Center for Care Innovations

Optimizing Patient Appointment Access

Many health centers struggle with no-shows and last-minute cancellations, which leave patient appointment slots unfilled. In our 2017 cycle of Catalyst, Open Door Community Health Centers began piloting a solution for filling these unanticipated vacancies.

At Open Door, staff noted that patients requesting same-day appointments are consistently being turned away. At the same time, the vacant appointment slots created by no-shows and late cancellations aren’t getting booked. These inefficiencies are felt deeply by patients, staff, clinics, and the community. When appointments go unfilled, providers with blank schedules miss out on productivity incentives and clinics fail to capture potential visit revenue. Unable to access acute care services with their primary care provider, patients often don’t seek out alternative care at all, worsening their health. And the community as a whole bears the brunt of the high-costs associated with the subsequent rise in emergency room care.

To address these issues, a team at Open Door is testing a same-day appointment waitlist.