GEORGIA — The Georgia Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday that it will start issuing appointment scheduling guidelines in its office locations to address issues with scheduling and scheduling practices across the state.
The guidelines will include a list of suggested appointments, which will be reviewed by a trained clinician.
Dr. Lisa Flemming, an assistant professor of health services at the University of Georgia, said it’s the first time a state has done this for scheduling.
“It’s really important because it’s a step toward establishing what the best practice is, and what’s the appropriate response,” she said.
Flemming said it will be important to remember that scheduling is a human decision.
She said patients and families need to understand that the health care professionals involved in scheduling will have different expectations.
They need to be prepared for the possibility that they may have to do different things in certain situations, she said, noting that some providers are already making changes in their scheduling practices to accommodate the guidelines.
One example is the appointment of a new nurse or nurse practitioner, or a specialist, to provide services.
Femming said many Georgia hospitals have begun to implement a scheduling model that incorporates a more holistic approach to scheduling, which focuses on patient safety and the quality of care.
It also includes the use of a patient and family first approach, she added.
Fermming said she hopes the guidelines will provide guidance for clinicians in scheduling and provide a more efficient approach for scheduling and appointment scheduling.
She said it is also important to note that a clinician may not be able to respond to all requests, and some patients may have additional needs.
While there are no guidelines on how to address the issue of scheduling, the guidelines are designed to provide guidance to clinicians and to families to facilitate the implementation of the recommended approach to patient safety, Flemting said.
Georgia is one of five states to offer appointment scheduling options to the public.
Flemning said she was also surprised to see that Georgia has not seen the recommendations for more than a year.
What is the Georgia appointment scheduling guidance?
What is a schedule?
What are the guidelines?
What can I do?
Georgia requires a doctor to be present to provide treatment in a single appointment.
That’s called a ‘couple.’
If you are not in a couple, you cannot have more than one appointment.
The guidelines also provide guidelines for the availability of services for different types of patients.
For example, if a patient is experiencing severe pain, you may need to have a pain management provider.
If a patient has a history of psychiatric conditions, they may be able have a psychiatric care team.
Some other situations where scheduling may not always be appropriate include:A diagnosis of a serious health condition.
A referral for a referral to a primary care physician or other health care provider.
A diagnosis for a mental health condition, which may require an appointment to a mental institution.
If the patient’s symptoms are severe, you should schedule an appointment for that condition as well.
Is scheduling for a serious illness considered a serious medical condition?
The guidelines do not include an example of what constitutes a serious condition.
But they do include guidelines on the availability and timing of an appointment, which is the best time to schedule an assessment.
You should expect that scheduling will take time and effort, Femming explained.
There is no evidence that scheduling can increase the chance of a diagnosis of serious illness, she noted.
But, if scheduling is not an option, it can be important for providers to understand what to do in the event of an emergency, she pointed out.
Fmming said the guidelines should not be construed to mean that scheduling should be avoided.
Many patients will choose to not schedule an emergency appointment.
However, scheduling for an emergency may require that the clinician be available, which can be challenging for some providers, she explained.
“If you can’t schedule an exam, a follow-up appointment or a follow up appointment for a chronic condition, you’re going to be in the dark on what that person is going through,” Flembing said.
The guidelines are being issued by the Department of State Health Services.