Well Visit Coverage and Appointment Depth

Ever find a dollar bill in your pocket?  Bonus!  Today’s episode is just like that…I was searching through my pile of data files looking for something when I stumbled upon an analysis I put together last year but forgot to share: does appointment depth affect well visit coverage?

What is appointment depth?  It’s my term for how far out a practice schedules appointments.  I have posited, unscientifically, that practices who open their appointment books out farther (a year is the target) do a better job keeping kids current with their well visits.  It’s common sense, really – if you depend on your patients to remember to make their appointments, your demand is going to go down.

With Igor’s help, we decided to take a look.  Below, we have a scatter plot showing each practice’s well visit coverage (3 colors, 3 age groups) on the Y axis and the “depth” of the appointments – measured here as the average length of time between the appointment and when it was scheduled.  The higher up the dot is placed, the better the practice’s well visit coverage is.  The further to the right the dot is placed, the further out the practice tends to schedule appointments.


Now, see those lines?  That’s the linear regression showing the relationship of the distribution.  Summary?  The further out pediatric practices schedule, the better their well visit coverage is.  Data!  I can finally stop dancing around this assumption.

Someone ask me about the other scheduling data I have…

6 replies
  1. Janice Loeffler
    Janice Loeffler says:

    Interesting to hear also as I cannot get my sched under control We have them coming in, mostly on time but with all the surveys and questions my NS take 15+ mins to book a patient then I get in there and find out about the year long constipation problem which by the way is the root of all evil!!!

  2. Adam Naddelman, MD
    Adam Naddelman, MD says:

    Do you have data on the frequency of reschedules compared to appointment depth? Reschedules due to either patient preference or physician schedule changes have always stopped us from allowing patients to book more than 3-4 months out. Just curious what your thoughts are on this. And what other data do you have?

    • Chip Hart
      Chip Hart says:

      I don’t have that info, but I can look into it. It could be revealing. Let me ponder!

      However, I’ve always taken the perspective that I’d rather rebook 20 kids than fill 20 slots from scratch.


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