Background Only 36% of sick Australians report being able to get an
appointment on the day they need it, which is poor by
international standards. This delay in care may impact on
practice team morale, practice profitability and patient
care. The Australian Primary Care Collaboratives Program
aims to find better ways to provide primary healthcare
services to patients through shared learning, peer support,
training, education and support systems.
Objective This article shares lessons from the Australian Primary Care
Collaboratives Program that can help practices improve
appointment scheduling. We describe steps to improving
control of your practice scheduling – and your life – by
measuring your practice demand, capacity and delay.
Discussion Demand for appointments is finite, predictable and can be
shaped. Delay is waste and the enemy of good healthcare.
Where delay can be eliminated it should be. By measuring
practice demand and capacity, improvements can be
designed which will result in reduction in measured
delay and patient unmet needs, and increased patient
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