WHY CAN'T I SCHEDULE MORE THAN ONE APPOINTMENT A DAY?

From time to time, patients request to schedule more than one appointment in a day, usually because it is more convenient to come to the clinic just once. For example, an individual may ask to schedule both a regular visit to address a specific concern, as well as a periodic health exam on the same day; in other situations, patients may have multiple specific concerns and ask to schedule two or three back to back appointments.

In principle, Magenta Health physicians would like to accommodate these requests, but cannot for practical reasons as discussed below in more detail.

WHAT SHOULD I DO INSTEAD?

At the present time, our standard policy is that patients should always schedule for the most important or most pressing reason. If there are additional concerns, you can let your physician know during your in person appointment, but there is a good chance you will need to schedule a follow-up appointment on another day.

WHAT ARE THE PRACTICAL REASONS?

As mentioned above, in principle, Magenta Health physicians would like to accommodate these requests, but cannot for practical reasons.

The single biggest factor is the fact that your physician must balance the needs of their entire patient population, together with the day-to-day ebb and flow of when appointments are available and needed. Enabling a single individual to schedule multiple appointments on a single day unfortunately increases the possibility that another patient, who has more urgent matters, is not able to schedule an appointment in a timely manner.

Another reason has to do with trying to ensure your physician's time is used effectively, so that they can provide care to as many patients as possible; something that is quite important in a publicly funded health care system given the current shortage of physicians.

For example, the amount of time any given concern will actually need varies quite a bit. We use metrics to try to make a good prediction, but there remains a high degree of variability. In practice, we try to schedule appointments to be slightly longer than is typically necessary, which means there is oftentimes (but not always) already the ability to address more than one issue during a single appointment. Scheduling multiple appointments means there's a good chance part of your appointment becomes unnecessary and therefore "wasted time" that could have been better spent accommodating another patient.

As a second example, the reality is that patients do miss appointments without cancelling them in a timely manner, despite multiple confirmations and reminders, and the possibility of fees and penalties. Scheduling a single patient for a shorter amount of time means if that individual misses their appointment, only a relatively small amount of time is lost.

A final reason has to do with the government, and the nuances of how physicians are compensated for their work. In order to prevent fraud and other issues, there are government imposed restrictions that make it so that, in most situations, physicians are not permitted to have and bill for multiple visits with a single patient, on a single day.