Implementing Centralized Scheduling to Improve Customer Service

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Service Excellence

Maribeth Quinn
Director, Business Process Improvement
Columbus Children's Hospital

Children's Hospital would like to share the advantages and challenges of moving from a decentralized scheduling process to a centralized scheduling process. We will walk you through the analysis we completed before making this decision, the challenges of implementation and the lessons learned.

Children's Hospital has had a "decentralized" scheduling process that was difficult for our customers. They had to call a different number for each type of appointment and if they needed two appointments on the same day it could take hours to coordinate. After thorough investigation of current processes and options we set out to implement a centralized process to improve customer service as well as improve throughput in our testing and clinic areas.

We started to "go-live" with this in March, 2004 and have now moved 15 primary care clinics, 10 subspecialty clinics and Radiology scheduling to the Central Scheduling system and process. We have achieved significant improvements in 1 year; 10,000 more clinic visits and 4700 additional Radiology procedures were performed than the same time frame in the previous year.

We learned many lessons from how to create the case for doing this to how to select a system and how to sell the idea to internal stakeholders.