Our vision: to transform access to medical care.

Understanding daily flow

The dreaded 8am rush or "Blackpool tower"

The dreaded 8am rush or “Blackpool tower”

 

To provide a good service we need to know exactly when demand comes in.  In a traditional practice this is often driven not by patient need, but by anxiety.  If they are used to a shortage of supply, and appointments released at opening time, they all call at once.  The Blackpool Tower effect.  Yes, it really can be this bad, and it’s miserable to be on reception all day with nothing to offer but excuses.

Toggle the transition Before/After to see what yours was like.

 

Demand spreads through the day naturally

Demand spreads through the day naturally

 

Our advice to patients is that when they call the surgery, the doctor will usually call them back within an hour.  They don’t believe it.  Then they try it, and it works.  Best to overdeliver on the promise, and many do so with median response around 30 minutes.  What happens then is that demand spreads out through the day.  It is likely to start high, but soon tail off to a much flatter afternoon, and then by the end of the day very little at all.

A double spike - driven by anxiety

A double spike – driven by anxiety

 

Some practices decide to take a lunch break when calls are not made and not taken.  This may be OK, but beware what is happening here.  A fixed number of slots has been allocated morning and afternoon, and anxiety has returned.  Patients try to call earlier, making timely response more difficult.  Then, told that all slots are gone, phone back in the afternoon, that’s exactly what they do.  A self-inflicted pain for the practice.  Don’t.