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Advanced /Open-Access Scheduling

By hire-up-staffing in Medical

Have you implemented this into your practice?

With an open mind, flexibility, physicians can reap the rewards

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We are slowly but surely seeing positive changes in our current economic state.  Sometimes the changes aren’t fast enough!  What can practices do to help increase revenue and patient satisfaction at the same time?  If you have not done so already, NOW is the time to implement Advanced/Open-Access scheduling.  The theory of this type of scheduling is “today’s work today!”  Mark Murray, MD is the self-proclaimed ‘grandfather’ of the application of ‘open access’ or ‘advanced access’ theory in healthcare scheduling and began working on the process along with colleagues in the late 1980’s.  All that is required to reap the rewards, they say, is steadfast faith and commitment.  The idea– predict demand and hold capacity.   According to Murray, “Access improvement is all about principles–supply and demand, flow, capacity.  Every organization is a little different.  They apply the principles to their own sites.  The goal is to decrease wait time and increase patient flow and revenue.


One example from the Scripps Clinic in Torrey Pines, CA

Dr. David Wetherhold, head of internal medicine at Scripps Clinic was the first to take the leap in his organization, a 300-physician, multi-site practice.  This was a true leap, as he read the materials on the concept on a Thursday and by the following Monday he and a colleague had initiated an open-access system that allowed two same-day appointments daily.  A small but important change.  Soon they were able to fill other slots through cancelled appointments and no-shows.  Time was also created by converting sick visits to routine care, which eliminated the need for return visits for physicals and other yearly requirements, and using resources previously dedicated to ‘triage’ for telephone care, which can often replace return appointments.

In about six weeks, Wetherhold and his colleague each were working with only 40%-50% of their schedules booked daily.

Two by two, doctors all around Scripps Clinic began open access to achieve what Wetherhold notes and an average of 70% open schedule daily.  Today, 95% of Scripps Internal medicine physicians and 30% of specialists use open-access scheduling.

Sure there is security in having a schedule booked with 20 patients a day for the next 2 months.  But those in the know insist an un-booked schedule can offer the same security.  Murray emphasizes, it comes down to changing the way you think and building the system according to what the patients want.

Initially, you may have to increase staff in some areas, more Medical Assistants for increased patient traffic, more Front Office staff, to handle calls and scheduling, if not on EMR systems, more Records Clerks to handle the demand of creating new patient charts or pulling charts for same day visits. Adding an additional New Patient Coordinator to handle the influx of new patients.  Finally, adding more Medical Billers to handle the increased billing and revenue generated by the increase in patients.

Demand is predictable!


Anticipated Benefits

  • Decreased wait time for appointment
  • Increased show rate
  • More predictable schedule
  • Increased provider productivity:
    • Percent of contact time
    • Improved continuity of care
    • Improved client care/Client satisfaction
    • Increased Revenue
    • Improved phone access
    • Minimized reminder calls
    • Fewer ED visits and hospitalizations

Our goal at Hire Up Staffing Medical Personnel Division

We not only want to be the staffing service of choice, we also strive to be a true consultant to our clients in the healthcare industry.  I pride myself in learning and sharing what I know to help physician groups maximize their productivity, and increase revenues, while maintaining the highest quality of patient care available to their patients. My commitment to doing so begins with making sure that I acquire the top talent in the Central Valley and match those candidates to the physician group where the training time required in doing the job is minimal due to their past experience and they can hit the ground running after a few short training sessions.  I would love the opportunity to meet with you at your convenience to discuss how we can partner to meet your practice needs.  Feel free to email me anytime at to discuss this article or other topics that interest you, or simply schedule a meeting.  It would be my pleasure to help you in any way possible.