There are five types of scheduling a medical office may use to schedule patient appointments. Wave scheduling, modified wave scheduling, double-booking, grouping procedures, and advance booking. The first type of scheduling is wave scheduling. A set number of patients would be scheduled in the same hour. They will be seen in the order of arrival. The second type of scheduling is the modified wave scheduling. This type of schedule would have a set number of patients at the top of hour and another set number on the half hour.
Double booking is the third type of scheduling. This schedule would have two patients of a physician to be seen at the same time but one would be with the physician and the other with the nurse or medical assistant, perhaps to get a shot. The fourth type of scheduling would be grouping or categorizing of procedures. If a physician wants to schedule the same types of appointments for the same time frame of the day, this would be used. Advance booking is the fifth and final type of scheduling. These appointment are made months in advance.
In my opinion wave scheduling would be best for this physician office. With this type of schedule, if a patient is late it will not get the physicians schedule behind because a certain number of patients are scheduled in the hour and seen on a first come first serve basis. The physician would have time to spend with the patient. It would minimize down time and keep a steady flow of patients in the office. This type of schedule would allow the physician to catch up if he has seen all of his scheduled patients in that hour. The down side of this method would be that there is not a time slot left for walk-ins or emergencies.
A history review over the past few months of how many patients the physician sees and how many hours was spent in the office during the day should be evaluated. Also, collecting information on how many patients cancelled and how many short term notices a patient gave the office for an appointment will help in determining how many patients to schedule in an hour.
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