The design and implementation of appointment scheduling within the Epic system has great advantages when you utilize advanced functionality provided for building a provider and/or resource schedule to maximize its potential while providing end user, provider and ultimately patient satisfaction.
Provider preferences play a key role when building schedules and determining the best use of visit types (i.e., new patient, established patient, etc) allowing providers to maintain a sense of control over their schedules. Many providers have different time lengths in which they need to see patients. These providers can be in the same clinic or department but individually need varying time lengths.
Epic functionality allows for the sharing of visit types across departments with the capability of setting modifiers (time lengths)at the Provider level within the visit type taking the burden off the scheduler in determining length of time for any given office visit. These modifiers can additionally be set at Patient Level based on characteristics of sex or age. (i.e., physical for an adult may take 45 min but for the elderly patient may take 60 min) These modifiers adjust the length of the visit to meet the needs of the provider and/or the patient.
Security set up plays a key role in managing how end users can schedule within your facility and will prevent overbooking any given time slot.
Additional Epic functionality allow for Session Limits when a Provider wants to only see a certain number of patient types (i.e. New Patients, Physicals, etc) in the morning or afternoon instead of using blocks. These Session limits, once met, will not allow additional patients of these visit types to be scheduled.
Same day functionality build allows for time on a providers schedule that is locked out for scheduling and does not open up until same day or one day prior. The advantage of this set up is availability for those patients who truly need to be seen on the same day.
Using a Confirm Appointments Report reduces the percentage of No Show patients. Epic systems also have the capability of a pie graph on a patients appointment desk that tracks the percentage of No Shows on individual patients allowing a provider to track and determine at what time on his schedule a chronic No Show patient should be scheduled to avoid wasted time.
A thorough design, build and validation within any facility can ensure a functioning scheduling system, maximizing its fullest potential for streamlined patient care.
Open Access and Wave Scheduling are not optimal options in facilities that have individual provider preferences and multi-specialty needs.