Improving Primary Care Access
Doing work as it occurs during the course of an office visit (e.g., doing documentation at the end of each visit) reduces the bottlenecks created by holding similar types of work to be done at a future time (batching). For example, some practices save all telephone calls, documentation, refills, etc., for the end of the day or session. This is referred to as batching.
With continuous flow, all work is accomplished as it presents itself and completed in one continuous action. Appointment times may need to be lengthened, or pauses placed in the schedule, to accommodate continuous flow and reflect a certain truth in scheduling. Continuous flow does not mean that time is added to the day, but that it is reallocated throughout the day.