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Study: Scheduling Changes Cut Pediatric Appointment Wait Times by 85%

Changes in scheduling reduced the average wait time for a new pediatric endocrinology appointment by approximately 85 percent — from 11.4 weeks to 1.7 weeks — in little over a year, according to a study in Pediatrics.

Researchers deployed three strategies to improve access to new pediatric endocrinology appointments in an urban, academic hospital faculty-based practice:

•    New patient appointments were protected from conversion to follow-up appointments.
•    All physicians, including senior faculty, were scheduled to see three to four new patients per session.
•    Sessions devoted exclusively to follow-up appointments were added based on demand.

Thirteen months after the practice made these changes, the wait time for a follow-up appointment dropped from 8.2 weeks to 2.9 weeks — a decrease of 64.6 percent. In addition, the average monthly total visit volume increased roughly 29 percent, from 284 to 366.

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