<div class="blog-left-nav"> <h4>In this blog</h4> <ul> <li> <a href="#1" class="selected"> What Are Wait Groups? </a> </li> <li> <a href="#2" class="selected"> Why Use Wait Groups? </a> </li> <li> <a href="#3" class="selected"> 7 Types of Wait Groups </a> </li> <li> <a href="#4" class="selected"> Set Up Wait Groups Inside SystemView </a> </li> <li> <a href="#5" class="selected"> Improve Waitlist Management Today </a> </li> <li> <a href="#6" class="selected"> Learn More </a> </li> </ul> </div> <style> .blog-left-nav { position: sticky; top: 55px; } .blog-left-nav h4 { font-size: 25px; } .blog-left-nav ul { padding-left: 0; } .blog-left-nav ul li { margin-top: 14px; } .blog-left-nav ul .selected { color: #0D6EFD; } .blog-left-nav ul a { color: #87898C; } </style>
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<p>When you’ve got 1,000 patients on your waitlist, but only 10 available appointments in the next week, who do you book next in outpatients?</p> <p>Allocating the right person to the next available appointment can be a challenge for clinicians and bookings officers, but it’s a fundamental part to these roles and essential for ensuring equitable access to healthcare.</p> <p>When you place the right patients into those 10 available appointments, it means that you may be able to:</p> <ul> <li>Deliver better clinical outcomes</li> <li>Reduce clinical risk for patients</li> <li>Ensure fairness for all patients on the waitlist</li> <li>Enable services to see patients within clinically recommended timeframes&nbsp;</li> <li>Keep long wait patients to a minimum</li> </ul> <p>Wait groups are one of the best strategies to help with managing the waitlist. So, let’s talk about what they are, why they’re useful, and what criteria you could use for your wait groups.</p> <section class="blogSectionHeading" id="1"> What Are Wait Groups? </section> <p>‘Wait groups’ are a way of breaking up your waitlist into different groups to help you understand what actions are required. &nbsp;</p> <p>Wait groups apply to everyone who is on a waitlist and has not yet been seen. This includes patients that are waiting for an appointment (unbooked) and those that already have an appointment but have not yet been seen or treated (booked).</p> <section class="blogSectionHeading" id="2"> Why Use Wait Groups? </section> <p>Wait groups can simplify waitlist and bookings management for any scheduled care pathway — outpatients, surgery, and even diagnostics services like medical imaging.</p> <p>It takes the guesswork out of deciding who should go next by using business rules to standardise who is next in the queue for an appointment or surgery date. This minimises the potential for unwanted variation.</p> <p>It also ensures that those patients who are already booked don’t become unbooked, which can result in delays to treatment and unnecessary, avoidable performance risks.&nbsp;</p> <p>They can also make it easier to implement chronological waitlist management strategies.</p> <section class="blogSectionHeading" id="3"> 7 Types of Wait Groups </section> <p>At SystemView, we’ve developed seven types of wait groups that can be used to manage waitlists.</p> <p><strong>Unbooked Long Wait&nbsp;</strong><br /> These patients have waited longer than their clinically recommended time and do not have an appointment or plan in place to see a clinician. These patients should be next on the booking list, while (of course) considering the highest clinical risk patients concurrently.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you are working on a long wait reduction project, this group is considered your ‘backlog’ and you will want to be using any additional funding you receive on reducing this group or targeting strategies that prevent this list getting any bigger.</p> <p>It’s a good idea to audit your unbooked long waits to understand if they still need care and if they do, begin making care plans. They are the first priority for bookings.</p> <p><strong>Unbooked Risk</strong><br /> These patients are approaching being overdue and do not have an appointment or operation. They’re next to be booked (after unbooked long waits) to prevent them going into the backlog. In specialties where there is no backlog, this group is the priority for bookings. Only when all appointments are filled can you look to fill with other unbooked patients.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Unbooked&nbsp;</strong><br /> These patients do not have an appointment or operation but are not close to their due date. There’s no action required yet unless there are no overdues or not unbooked risks. These patients should be booked last.</p> <p><strong>Booked Long Wait&nbsp;</strong><br /> These patients have been waiting longer than their clinically recommended time and have an appointment or operation. They need to be monitored to make sure they do not get cancelled if clinics need to be reorganised.</p> <p><strong>Booked Risk</strong><br /> These patients are approaching being overdue and have an appointment or operation. It is anticipated that if these patients are cancelled, they will not be able to be seen in time. While they aren’t currently a problem they do need to be monitored to make sure they do not get cancelled as they will likely become unnecessary long waits. This wait group requires special attention if you are working towards reaching a lower long wait target.</p> <p><strong>Booked in Time&nbsp;</strong><br /> These patients have an appointment or operation but are not close to their due date. There is nothing wrong with these bookings, and there are no actions that need to be taken unless you have patients being booked to breach or you have unbooked long waits. If you have either of these scenarios alongside patients being booked in time, it’s an indicator that you are not treating people in turn.&nbsp;</p> <p>If there are a lot of these patients and there is a backlog of patients, this list should be audited to understand why they're getting seen ahead of others. You may be able to rebook these patients for later, freeing up appointments for more urgent patients now.</p> <p><strong>Booked to Breach</strong><br /> These patients are not yet overdue but have been given a booking past their due date, so will be overdue at the time of booking.&nbsp;</p> <p>This happens for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s simply because there are no appointments available sooner. This is a lead indicator of demand and capacity imbalance. If this is the first time this is occurring, it’s worth looking into to avoid a long wait backlog emerging.</p> <p>Another potential reason is that there are issues with bookings processes. Perhaps people are not booking in turn, or bookings officers are not informed of clinically recommended timeframes.&nbsp;</p> <p>All patients who are booked to breach should be reviewed to see whether they can be given an earlier appointment. If not, the cause should be investigated and possibly escalated to avoid future (and possibly preventable) long waits.</p> <section class="blogSectionHeading" id="4"> Set Up Wait Groups Inside SystemView </section> <p>You may be able to create wait groups using custom business rules inside your current waitlist software or spreadsheets. But the most efficient way to use wait groups is with software that does it automatically.</p> <p>SystemView automates this sorting of patients into groups that require different actions including all the wait groups listed above. It also automatically updates these lists as patient statuses change.&nbsp;</p> <p>Booking Officers can generate a daily action list based on their wait groups, covering which bookings to make next in order to reduce or avoid long waits. Plus, create a list of patients to keep an eye on to ensure they don't get cancelled.</p> <p><strong>Learn more about SystemView’s features &gt;&gt; <em>[insert hyperlink when ready]</em></strong></p> <section class="blogSectionHeading" id="5"> Improve Waitlist Management Today </section> <p>Waitlist management is extremely important for both surgery and outpatients. It can help you provide an equitable service for all patients — and ensure that fewer patients wait longer than recommended times.</p> <p>Take the time to set up wait groups and integrate them into your booking processes and you’ll likely find it’s also more efficient to book referrals and manage your waitlists.</p> <section class="blogSectionHeading" id="6"> Learn More </section> <p>Want to learn more or dive deeper into waitlist management? Check out these <strong>surgical waitlist management strategies</strong>&nbsp;<strong><em>[insert hyperlink when ready]</em></strong> and <strong>outpatient waitlist strategies <em>[insert hyperlink when ready]</em>!</strong></p> <style> .blogSectionHeading { font-weight: 600; font-size: 24px; } </style>

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