Improving patient access to care means supporting patients in navigating their health care and removing obstacles.
Strategies might include:
- Serving patients quickly
- Treating urgent issues promptly
- Minimizing wait times
- Following up about appointment times and test results
Scheduling best practices to improve access to routine and urgent care might include:
- Considering online scheduling, or scheduling routine appointments well in advance, e.g., 12 months
- Informing patients of expected wait times during check-in and keeping them informed when there is a delay
- Communicating delays apologetically and offering to reschedule if necessary
- Considering open access scheduling; reserve a portion of each day for urgent care or follow-up care
- Working with additional providers for urgent and after-hour appointments and availability if needed
- Exploring partnering with 24-hour urgent care or walk-in clinics
For more tips, see Understanding How Patients Perceive Access to Care.