Improving Primary Care Access
Daily number of clinic appointments (filled and unfilled).
The wait time for an appointment is the difference between when the demand for that appointment is declared and when the supply is applied. Therefore, it is important to understand supply and demand for appointments when trying to improve delays for appointments.
Supply refers to the total resources (people, equipment, offices and exam rooms) available to a clinic. When the total resources are managed well, a clinic creates openness in its schedule or space to care for patients.
Patients experience this openness primarily as the availability of clinic appointments. Since, in most systems, clinician time for appointments is the bottleneck, capacity is the total hours of clinician time devoted to appointments.
Data Collection Plan
Determine the number of FTE providers available in a given period. Then measure the number of patient visits per specific period each provider is capable of seeing in the present system. Do this by multiplying slots per hour by hours per day. Multiply appointments per day by number of days per week (excluding time away from the clinic) to obtain appointments per week. Multiply appointments per day by number of weeks per month (excluding time away from the clinic) to obtain appointments per month. This calculation shows approximately how many appointment slots (or hours of availability) each provider, or a system of providers, has available.