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Health Centers Move to Same-Day Scheduling

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Starting November 3, most services at the Northern Kentucky Health Department’s county health centers will be provided using a same-day scheduling system. Clients needing services other than the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program, can call for an appointment starting at 8 a.m. on the day they wish to be seen. Appointments will be scheduled on a first-come, first served basis until all appointments for the day are booked. Those who do not get an appointment that day will be asked to call the following day.

“We feel that using a same-day scheduling system will benefit both our clients and our staff,” said Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health. “Clients will be able to get an appointment right away, when they’ve identified a need, and with a shorter wait time. Staff will benefit with fewer no-shows and the ability to provide services in a more efficient manner.”

The Health Department has health centers in each of the counties that it serves—Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton, seeing more than 15,000 unduplicated clients per year. Services offered with same-day appointments at the health centers will include immunizations, family planning, pregnancy testing, HIV testing, sexually transmitted disease screening and treatment, and women’s cancer screening. Locations are as follows:

In order to keep the WIC clients on track with the program guidelines for scheduling, appointments for WIC visits will not be moved to the same-day scheduling system. WIC appointments will be scheduled as they have been in the past, following program guidelines for follow-up and re-certification visits.

“As with any change, there will be a transition period as clients get used to this new scheduling system,” said Jennifer Hunter, RN, MSN, Director of Clinical Services. “Our staff are working to help our clients take on the responsibility of identifying when an appointment is needed, and then making and keeping that same-day appointment.”

Several national organizations have endorsed same-day scheduling as a way to improve health care outcomes, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

In Kentucky, numerous local health departments have implemented similar scheduling policies, and have seen an increase in show rates, patient and staff satisfaction, and improved efficiency in service provision.

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