Cancer programs continuously struggle to optimize scheduling for their infusion center. Inefficient and ineffective scheduling leads to delayed appointments and decreased patient and staff satisfaction. We surveyed more than 250 infusion centers about how they schedule infusion center patients—here’s what we learned.
Most schedules account for treatment duration and type
We asked survey respondents how patients are scheduled in the infusion center. The three most common factors taken into consideration are treatment duration (92%), treatment type (60%), and acuity of infusion administration (47%). Reflecting the complexity of cancer treatments, most scheduling decisions are informed by more than one factor. On average, infusion centers account for 2.5 factors when they schedule patients.
Infusion centers with private practice physicians more likely to schedule by physician
A facility’s relationship with its oncologists significantly impacted how scheduling decisions are made. Scheduling based on physician was most common among facilities with only private practice medical oncologists (41%) and less common among facilities with a mix of employed and private practice medical oncologists (21%) and only employed medical oncologists (24%). Infusion centers that schedule patients by physician had the longest average patient wait times (median 40 mins) in the infusion center. This indicates that organizations with significant delays in the infusion center might want to revisit their scheduling processes.
In contrast, facilities with private practice medical oncologists were least likely to schedule patients by treatment duration (78%).
Scheduling by chemo compounding acuity associated with mix of drug regimens
An interesting finding was that facilities that schedule patients based on the acuity of compounding deliver an equal percentage of single drug infusions as combination drug infusions. For those organizations, scheduling patients based on compounding acuity may be a critical tactic to maximize pharmacy time and throughput in the infusion center.