Health Care

Your Wait List Should Be Getting Longer

Jeff Doleweerd
,
October 17, 2019
BACK

Do you have a wait-list? If you do, then it should be getting longer.

Let's say your organization provides autism assessments, and you can provide 10 assessments a week.  However, you are getting requests for 12 assessments per week.

Therefore, each week, you provide 10 assessments and 2 more people get added to the waitlist.  Every week, the wait list gets longer by +2 people, and every new applicant has to wait longer than the previous one for an assessment.

Your wait list will keep getting longer and longer until you:

a) can provide 12 or more assessments per week

OR
b) the number of people asking for your service reduces to 10 or less

However, many organizations have wait lists of 2 weeks, or 2 months, that essentially stay at this level for months and years. This means that demand = supply (i.e., 10 new clients requests each week, 10 clients served each week). These organizations have the capacity to serve each client as they arrive with minimal waiting time, yet still they wait 2 months.

Why?

If your wait list is not getting longer, it is something else.

It is a backlog.

The solution is simple: eliminate your backlog by temporarily applying extra resources to clear them out. Then, proceed to serve your clients in a timely manner within existing resources and make sure you don’t get a backlog again.  Match the demand that comes in today with staff available to do the work, today. Add 1-2 more appointments to your calendar each day for a week or a month to reduce the backlog and get your system back on track.

You will also save resources in the long run because you won’t be wasting time triaging a wait-list. Every client deserves to be assessed on a first-come, first-serve basis without the need of triage, because you have available appointment times and a minimal wait list. By using booked appointment times without the time consuming phone tag of an old referral system, it's easy to increase your assessment volume each day or each week.

Caredove offers streamlined waitlist management tools as part of its out-of-the-box eReferral solution for both community based organizations and family health teams. Contact us to learn more.

Suggested Reads