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Why Wait?

Saving time at the doctor’s office with same-day scheduling takes time to implement.

By Marina Krakovsky // Infographic by Flying Chilli
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same-day scheduling

Flying Chilli

Fed up with patient backlogs at Kaiser Permanente in Roseville, Calif., family practitioner Mark Murray thought, If other industries can balance supply and demand, why can’t health care professionals?

Murray’s implementation of same-day scheduling—in which patients can be seen on the day they call—reduced waits for routine appointments from 55 days to one. Though many primary care clinics now practice some form of it, specialists have resisted, citing doctor shortages, the need for regular follow-ups and the risk of time slots going unused. Another turnoff: Making the switch requires a significant amount of work up front in careful workload calculations and extra staff time. Yet Murray and others would argue that the outcome is well worth the effort, for both patient and physician. Here’s how it’s done.

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