Appointment standardization evaluation in a primary care facility

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the performance on standardizing appointment slot length in a primary care clinic to understand the impact of providers’ preferences and practice differences. Design/methodology/approach – The treatment time data were collected for each provider. There were six patient types: emergency/urgent care (ER/UC), follow-up patient (FU), new patient, office visit (OV), physical exam, and well-child care. Simulation model was developed to capture patient flow and measure patient wait time, provider idle time, cost, overtime, finish time, and the number of patients scheduled. Four scheduling scenarios were compared: scheduled all patients at 20 minutes; scheduled ER/UC, FU, OV at 20 minutes and others at 40 minutes; scheduled patient types on individual provider preference; and scheduled patient types on combined provider preference. Findings – Standardized scheduling among providers increase cost by 57 per cent, patient wait time by 83 per cent, provider idle time by five minutes per patient, overtime by 22 minutes, finish time by 30 minutes, and decrease patient access to care by approximately 11 per cent. An individualized scheduling approach could save as much as 14 per cent on cost and schedule 1.5 more patients. The combined preference method could save about 8 per cent while the number of patients scheduled remained the same. Research limitations/implications – The challenge is to actually disseminate the findings to medical providers and adjust scheduling systems accordingly. Originality/value – This paper concluded standardization of providers’ clinic preference and practice negatively impact clinic service quality and access to care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-686
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 11 2016


  • Appointment scheduling
  • Appointment slot
  • Provider preference
  • Standardization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Health Policy


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