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Report

The effect of same-day-access to primary care

Same day scheduling is a concept where the principle is that patients get an appointment on the same day that they contact their doctor’s office. This means that most of the calendar is open for today’s inquiries. In this report we have summarized research on the effect same day scheduling has on wait time, number of list patients, number of appointments made, patient satisfaction, use of emergency services, missed appointments, and continuity of care.

Same day scheduling is a concept where the principle is that patients get an appointment on the same day that they contact their doctor’s office. This means that most of the calendar is open for today’s inquiries. In this report we have summarized research on the effect same day scheduling has on wait time, number of list patients, number of appointments made, patient satisfaction, use of emergency services, missed appointments, and continuity of care.


Key message

Five of the included studies compared same day scheduling where most of the calendar is open for today’s inquiries with traditional scheduling where only a couple of doctor's appointments are not scheduled. This kind of same day scheduling will:

  • probably lead to reduced wait time
  • possibly increase the number of patients meeting for their appointments and improve continuity of care

It is uncertain whether same-day-scheduling has any effect on the other outcomes.

One study compared two versions of same day scheduling, both holding a large portion of the calendar open for today’s inquiries. One system keeps 75 per cent open and the other keeps 40-5o% open. It is uncertain whether more or less available hours have different effect on the relevant outcomes.

Key messages in English.

About this publication

  • Year: 2015
  • By: Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services
  • Authors Straumann GH, Vist GE.
  • ISBN (digital): 978-82-8121-974-8