However helpful and efficient, computers don't always improve upon time-tested manual aids. That's my conclusion after asking a variety of my colleagues about using a cancellation list to fill in doctors' schedules. Though some computer systems purport to provide good cancellation management, you can do just as well-and often better-with a pad of paper at the front desk.
Whether in a high-volume primary care office or for a surgical practice with just a few office hours per week, it helps keep your schedules full. The list identifies those patients who are scheduled for routine care in the future but would prefer to be seen sooner.
Keep the cancellation list simple. A plain legal pad will suffice. If a patient wants to be seen sooner than his or her appointment date, your front desk people can record it on the list; add the patient's phone number, present appointment (date, time and which physician) and purpose of visit. Including the patient's preferred visit days and times is also helpful.