Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore unnecessary outpatient department attendances and to improve efficiency by actively pre-assessing patient charts and pre-specifying management plans before scheduled outpatient visits.
Design/methodology/approach: All charts were reviewed by a senior clinician two weeks before the clinic and a brief, written management plan made.
Findings: A significant reduction in clinic sizes by about 40 per cent can be expected. There was a non-significant increase in the ratio of new to review patients and no significant reduction in waiting lists.
Research limitations/implications: Pre-assessing patient charts leads to cancelling unnecessary outpatient reviews, which can increase outpatient department effectiveness.
Originality/value: Clinical efficiency is becoming increasingly important. This work describes a simple strategy to improve outpatient department productivity.