Centralize Appointment Scheduling
When counselors schedule their own appointments they
spend too much time making appointments and may also
Centralize appointment scheduling so that counselors can
focus on seeing clients instead of scheduling, making
phone calls, and other logistical tasks. Use this method for
appointments made both when clients call and when they
are present in person.
Sinnissippi Centers in Dixon, Illinois centralized their appointment scheduling at the front desk.
This streamlined the scheduling process, which enabled counselors to see more clients, and
increased revenues from assessments by $8,000, a 6 percent increase.
The Center for Drug Free Living in Orlando, Florida started using a multi-person appointment
book to schedule appointments for the entire staff at the front desk. Clients already in treatment
reported that they were more satisfied because they were able to reschedule appointments on
the first phone call instead of having to wait for a return phone call.
- If counselors are reluctant to share calendars, discuss their concerns. Test this practice
using small-scale cycles and continue to revisit and address their concerns.
- It may be possible to share access to electronic calendars using an application such as
- Number of days until next available
- Number of hours spent by counselors
Data Collection Form
Next Available Appointment Tracking
- 1. Decide how you will rearrange appointment scheduling so that it is
- 2. Collect baseline data for the number of days to the next available
appointment and the number of hours counselors spend scheduling
- 3. Have the centralized office staff make appointments for counselors during
the next two weeks.
- 4. Re-check the number of days until the next available treatment session and
the number of hours that counselors spend scheduling appointments.
- 5. Check the fidelity of the change. Was the change implemented as planned?
- 6. Evaluate the change:
- Did counselors spend less time making appointments?
- Did counselors spend more time with clients?
- How did counselors react to having their appointments made by someone else?
- Did clients find appointment scheduling to be easier?
- Did waiting time decrease?
- 7. Adjust the way that appointment scheduling is centralized or the number of
counselors that are centrally scheduled and re-test this promising practice
for an additional two weeks.
Repeat this series of steps until all appointments for all of your counselors are made
in a centralized fashion.