This composite measures the ability for patients to schedule appointments and get medical questions answered in a timely manner. It also measures the length of time patients wait to be seen by their providers. The survey asks patients the following questions:

In the last 12 months, when you…

  • Called your personal doctor's office to get an appointment for care you needed right away, how often did you get an appointment as soon as you needed it?
  • Scheduled an appointment for a check-up or routine care at your personal doctor's office, how often did you get an appointment as soon as you needed it?
  • Called your personal doctor's office with a medical question during regular office hours, how often did you get an answer to your question that same day?
  • Called your personal doctor's office after regular office hours, how often did you get the help or advice you needed?
  • Had an appointment at your personal doctor's office, how often were you taken to the exam room within 15 minutes of your appointment time?
  • How often did the person you were scheduled to see come in within 15 minutes?

Resources
Comment Card A useful tool that can be used by practices to gain feedback from the patients.

Improve Work Flow and Remove Waste: Synchronize Patient, Provider, and Information   This article, provided by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, lists specific ideas on how to better synchronize the appointment process.

Patient Cycle Tool This tool, developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, allows patients and practice staff the opportunity to document the patient cycle time to better improve office efficiency.

Patient Gateway offers a convenient way to request routine appointments, prescriptions and referral authorizations; obtain quality health and disease information; find directions and other helpful practice information.

Pediatric Guidebook Practice Information Template  This template has been designed for the practice section of the Pediatric Guidebook. The practice section should be as thorough and detailed as possible so patients have a better understanding of how your practice operates and can easily find information about the practice when needed.

Practice Walk-Through  Performing a practice walk-through is an effective way of recreating for staff the emotional and physical experiences of being a patient or family member. A walk-through provides a different perspective and brings to light rules and procedures that may have outlived their usefulness.

Minutes Behind Graph  A "MinutesBehind" graph is a very helpful way to show graphically the effect of providers starting late/staying late, starting late/catching up, and starting on time/getting late. For directions on how to use this tool please visit: Directions

Quick Reference Guide: Improving the Patient Experience  Developed by the California Quality Collaborative (CQC), this guide provides recommendations that have been found to be very helpful in improving access to care, care coordination, and doctor-patient interactions.

Script for Late Patients  This tool, developed by the Marshfield Clinic in Rice Lake, Wisconsin and provided by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, can be utilized to keep access to care under control when a patient is late for an appointment.

Standard Room Stocking Checklist  Designed by the Trustees of Dartmouth College, Batalden, Godfrey, Nelson and provided by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, this tool is helpful in standardizing supplies and inventory which can lead to decreased re-work, high predictability of needed supplies being present, andfewer interruptionsto the flow of patient care. For directions on how to use this tool please visit: Directions

Shortening Waiting Times: Six Principles for Improved Access   This article, written by Mark Murray, MD, MPA and provided by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, lists six principles to shorten wait times for patients and improve access.

Unplanned Activity Card   Designed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the Unplanned Activity Card assists the practice in identifying waits and delays in the process of providing smooth and uninterrupted patient care.

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