I am typically in my clinic seeing patients every day of the work week, Monday through Friday. A typical week of hours seeing patients is as follows: Mondays from 10am until 8pm; Tuesdays from 8:30am until 4pm; Wednesdays from 9:30am until 4pm; Thursdays from 8:30am until 4pm; and Fridays from 8:30am until 12pm. These have been my standard clinic hours for years. In addition to this, I share the responsibility along with my organization’s colleagues for providing a 3-hour after-hours clinic every weekday evening and a 3-hour clinic every weekend.
I have always practiced using an “Advanced Access” booking strategy. I only pre-book appointments for approximately one third of my available appointment slots each day. This leaves two-thirds of my day available for “same day bookings.” This has proven to allow ample access for patients to call my office early in the morning of the day on which they wish to be seen. Effectively, this provides tremendous access for all of my patients, each and every day through the week. In almost all cases, I am able to see patients on the very same day on which they call for appointments. On very rare occasions, when a patient calls for an appointment later in the day, and all of the appointment spots have been booked, the patient is advised of alternative access options including: attending our walk-in after-hours clinics that run nightly throughout the week or calling the very next morning for a same-day appointment. If a concern is not urgent, my patients also have the option of booking an elective visit at a future date during the next available “pre-booking” appointment time.
Typically, so long as a patient calls my office before 10am, there are still open appointment slots for that day. Every day, our staff track and maintain a list of patients who have called for an appointment that day, but for whom there was no longer a same-day appointment slot available. I actively monitor this list throughout the day and can often squeeze in patients from that list. Given this objective tracking method, I can with confidence attest that on most days I am able to see nearly every patient who calls for an appointment that very same day.
In an effort to even further improve patient satisfaction and access, I have implemented a “Same Day/Next Day” booking strategy. If/when all “same-day” appointment slots have been filled for a day, any further patients calling in that day are offered to book into the open slots the very next day. This prevents the need for the patient to call in the very next morning and effectively allows the patient to have a visit within 24 hours.
Unfortunately, there are rare days and weeks when the demand for appointments exceeds the realistic availability of my capacity. On these occasions, there may be a few patients who I cannot see that same day. However, as above, any such patient still has the option of attending an after-hours clinic that same evening.
With these processes, I am proud to say that when any patient calls for an appointment to see me, the vast majority are seen that very same day within less than 8 hours; essentially all of my patients are able to see me within 24-hours. With the additional option of our after-hours walk-in clinics, patients always have the opportunity to be seen that very same day.
Such availability and access is second to none in the country.
— Dr. Adam Stewart