Kadena Clinic cuts wait times with voicemail
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 18th Medical Group has implemented a new voicemail system for cancelations to cut down on no-shows and wait times.
The Kadena Medical Clinic has more than 17,000 patients enrolled and sees at least 150 patients a day. The average wait time for a routine appointment or follow up is two weeks.
"We wanted to be more compliant with the Air Force Medical Operations Agency," said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Anglea Hansen, 18th Medical Group family health administration NCO in charge. "The voice mailbox is available 24/7 so they can call and leave a message. It's secured and private and a certified clinic agent checks the voice mailbox every three hours starting at 7:30 a.m."
The new system gives patients another option to cancel ahead of time and cut down the time for other patients to be seen.
"Before, the majority of patients had to call into the phone tree and then wait for someone to pick up to cancel an appointment and that was only available during the duty day," Hansen said.
"We understand that people have other obligations or duties that can pop up at the last second," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Shannon Nail, 18th Medical Support Squadron group practice manager. "If something comes up really quickly the voicemail system is another line of communication to let us know."
According to Hansen the majority of calls for appointments or cancelations are at the beginning of the duty day.
"If a patient had an appointment at 9 a.m. and called in to cancel through the phone tree, they could be waiting for an hour before anyone picks up," Hansen explained. "It's more convenient for everyone."
Even though the system is barely a month old results are already starting to show.
"It's been working well," Hansen said. "We've been getting people to call in every day."
The earlier patients cancel appointments, the sooner another patient is able to be seen.
To properly cancel an appointment call 630-4817 from a base phone or 098-960-4817 from a cell phone. Provide rank if active duty, first and last name, last 4 of the sponsor's social security number, the patient's date of birth, the clinic and the date and time of the appointment.
The cancelation options are available for all clinics at the 18th MDG except for the Mental Health Clinic. Patients can still cancel online with their Tricare account at www.tricareonline.com.