At Desert Ridge Family Physicians, we do not use a conventional scheduling system. We use “Open-Access” scheduling in which we strive to schedule all of our appointments for the same day or within the next two days. This system ensures that you have access to your doctor when you need it.
We encourage you to review the most common questions about our unique scheduling system.
Under a Same Day/Next 2 Days scheduling system, appointments are offered for either today, tomorrow or the day after. We generally do not book appointments beyond this window. For example, if you call for an appointment on a Tuesday, we will offer any available appointments for that day, Wednesday or Thursday if needed. Likewise, if you would like to come in for an appointment on Monday, you should call on the preceding Thursday or Friday. We book all of our appointments using this system, including sick visits, well visits, and everything in between.
Furthermore, we highly value the benefits of maintaining continuity of care with your Primary Care Physician. We strive to schedule all appointments with your PCP. Continuity of Care improves the quality and efficiency of the care provided to patients.
We can’t guarantee that we will always have appointments available with your PCP within the timeframe needed. Only in the rarest of circumstances will we overbook our schedule. While it is always advisable to see your PCP, acute and urgent needs can be seen by another physician. Chronic conditions should be followed by your PCP.
WHY DON’T YOU OVERBOOK YOUR SCHEDULE?
Overbooked appointments take time and focus from other patients that are already on the schedule. Our goal is to give each patient the appropriate amount of time and energy that they deserve, and our scheduling system helps to promote that.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET AN APPOINTMENT FOR THE TIME THAT I WANT?
Established patients should use our Online Scheduling system. Otherwise, we recommend that you call the 2-3 days before you would like to be seen to have the best chance of getting the appointment time that works best for you. Our phones open at 8:00am.
WHY DO I NEED TO COME EARLY FOR MY APPOINTMENT?
Prior to each appointment, we collect copays and check each patient into our Electronic Health Record system. At times, we may need to update a patient’s demographic or insurance information, and we may only become aware of this need during check in. We ask our patients to arrive 10 minutes early so that we can continue to run on time.
Late arrivals are one of the biggest causes for running late.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I NEED TO CANCEL MY APPOINTMENT?
We request that you call our office to cancel your appointment as soon as you know that you will be unable to keep it. This allows us to use your time slot for another patient. Our Online Scheduling tool also allows patients to cancel an appointment. We request at least 4 hours notice for appointment cancellations, so we have the opportunity to give that timeslot to another patient.
WHAT IS THE OFFICE POLICY FOR LATE PATIENTS?
Our physicians make every effort to run on time. While we realize that most patients do not intentionally arrive late for their appointments, it does cause a back-up leading our physicians to run late for subsequent appointments. If circumstances beyond your control are going to cause you to be late, we ask that you call as soon as possible to see if we can shuffle the schedule or move your appointment to a slightly later time. In some circumstances, if a patient is more than 10 minutes late for their appointment, they may be asked to reschedule. We do this out of consideration for our other patients, not to be punitive. With our Same Day/Next 2 Days scheduling system, we know that we will be able to reschedule their return with little delay.
WHY ARE ALL OF THE APPOINTMENTS SCHEDULED FOR ONLY SAME DAY/NEXT 2 DAYS?
We schedule all of our appointments this way because it is best for patient care. With this system, the doctors have availability to see their patients who have an urgent concern, typically within 2 days of their call. This helps to reduce the need for our patients to seek care from an Urgent care setting or the ER. With conventional scheduling systems, routine (non-urgent) visits are booked for weeks or months in advance, but leave little room for urgent visits. Then when an urgent need arises, patients may be asked to wait days or weeks for an appointment, or may be “overbooked” leaving less time with the doctor for multiple affected patients.
WHY CAN’T I SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT FOR NEXT WEEK OR NEXT MONTH?
To ensure that we have plenty of appointments available, we do not schedule out into the future. We encourage our patients to add reminders to their calendars for when to schedule an appointment in the future.