Patient Navigators sometimes carry caseloads as large as 20 clients. Each of these clients has his or her own set of provider appointments, navigation sessions, and other meetings that the Patient Navigator must schedule, attend, and/or track. Careful documentation of client meetings can aid in tracking client progress, generating more detailed reports, and improving delivery of care. However, balancing the tracking and documentation of the schedules of a full client load while keeping up with in-person meetings and programmatic responsibilities can be a daunting process.
This topic focuses on the challenges of scheduling client meetings and appointments. To learn more about scheduling meetings with Care Team staff, view the Care Team Coordination topic page.
After reviewing scheduling information and resources below, you will know:
- Best practices for scheduling patient navigation sessions that ensure all clients are seen in a timely manner and reporting requirements are met
- The roles and responsibilities for scheduling and tracking client sessions
- Strategies for facing common scheduling challenges
In the following scheduling challenges videos, real Care Team members share some common challenges they face in scheduling meetings and some best practices and tips for efficient scheduling. These videos provide guidance for establishing scheduling procedures and can be used as a resource for all Care Team staff.
In the following videos, Patient Navigators, Care Coordinators, Program Directors, and primary care providers discuss:
- Scheduling challenges and tips for working with clients
- Best practices for working with Care Team staff
- Challenges and tips for scheduling meetings with primary care providers
Patient Navigators and Care Coordinators may face several challenges in scheduling client meetings and ensuring that deadlines and reporting requirements are met.
|Common Challenges faced by Patient Navigators||Possible Solutions|
|Keeping track of appointments and attendance records for all clients.
Patient Navigators may be responsible for up to 20 clients at a time, making it difficult to keep track of each client’s multiple appointments and follow up with each appointment to track attendance and fulfill reporting requirements.
|Balancing in-person client care with other responsibilities of data entry and fulfilling reporting requirements.
In-person client meetings is one of the key strengths of STEPS. And it can be difficult to balance this personal care with careful tracking and documentation of attendance and other data to meet reporting requirements.
|Common Challenges Faced by Care Coordinators||Possible Solutions|
|Keeping a master schedule to monitor Patient Navigator schedules to ensure regular client attendance to medical appointments.
Care coordinators can be responsible for up to 7 Patient Navigators at a time, and should know what each Patient Navigator’s schedule and clients’ schedules are for supervision, safety, and reporting purposes.
|Scheduling client meetings on behalf of Patient Navigators.
Some agency Care Coordinators may be responsible for scheduling client meetings for their Patient Navigators. While this may help with keeping track of Patient Navigator schedules, it also introduces additional work and overhead.
|Fulfilling final data entry and reporting requirements.
Care Coordinators often complete data entry and compile reports for partners and funders. In order to do so, Care Coordinators need to keep track of their Patient Navigators’ reporting requirements and data in addition to their own.
|Keeping track of client referrals in and out of the STEPS program.
Care Coordinators are responsible for both client intake from referral sources as well as outgoing client referrals to other agencies.
STEPS Care Team members are responsible for a variety of scheduling tasks for client meetings and appointments.
- Schedule, track, and report patient navigation sessions and appointments with medical and social service providers.
- Remind clients of the time, date, and location of each scheduled appointment according to the established reminder policies.
- Ensure that clients have all the information and resources they need for each appointment, such as childcare and/or transportation, if necessary.
- Carefully document all scheduled activities for reporting purposes and to determine if outreach is needed.
- Follow up with client appointments to ensure attendance and reschedule with providers, as necessary.
- Report daily schedule to the responsible supervisor.
- Submit all required reporting documentation in a timely manner.
- In some agencies, fulfill the above responsibilities of Patient Navigators if the Care Coordinator also provides in-person client care.
- May meet with client along with Patient Navigator after primary care physician appointments to review and update care plan.
- Provide clinic-based health education along with scheduled primary care appointments.
- Ensure that Patient Navigators can fulfill scheduled client meetings, providing assistance and support where necessary.
- Schedule meetings to complete enrollment and intake procedures.
- Schedule meetings to develop and update Care Plans.
- Conduct outreach to schedule medical appointments for clients previously lost to care.
- Ensure that the clients’ childcare and/or transportation needs are handled up to and including the next scheduled appointment, if necessary.
- Ensure that reporting deadlines and requirements are met.
These tasks should be carried out in accordance with agency policies on scheduling client meetings. Depending on agency policies, roles and responsibilities for Care Team members in your agency may vary. Check with your supervisor to understand the specific responsibilities you may have, or visit the Establishing Policies and Protocols page for a more detailed list of scheduling policy recommendations.
Many agencies may choose to create custom scheduling and reporting tools to track client meetings and other records. Below are three customizable templates that can be adapted for your agency to track client schedules, reporting deadlines and components, and weekly staff schedules:
Client Schedule Tracker
This tracker can be used by Patient Navigators and Care Coordinators to keep track of a client’s past and upcoming appointments. It may be useful to print and review with individual clients for patient navigation sessions or share with other staff for reporting purposes.
Programmatic Deadlines Tracker
This tracker can be used by Care Coordinators to keep track of reporting deadlines and to manage the information required to develop each report.
Weekly Schedule Tracker
This tracker is a helpful tool for Patient Navigators, Care Coordinators, or other staff to keep track of their weekly schedules. Staff can easily share this with responsible supervisors.