Date of Award

Fall 12-9-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


School of Nursing

First Advisor

Jennifer Stewart-Glenn

Second Advisor

Kimberly Ferguson



Open Access Schedule (OAS) systems are a new way to schedule patient appointment in an outpatient medical setting. In theory these systems will provide many benefits that are not seen in a traditional scheduling model, such as decreased wait times to see a provider and more provider flexibility. However, little research has been done to examine how effective these systems are once they are put into practice, particularly in the mental health setting. The purpose of this project was to examine a recently implemented open access scheduling system in a community mental health center in rural Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. A retrospective analysis was done of no-show and cancellation rates in the clinics, as well as provider productivity for the company. There also was an online survey completed by providers at the community mental health center to examine their perception of the OAS system. The results showed that there was some decrease in the no-show and cancellation rates in the clinics, and there was more consistent improvement in the cancellation rates. Provider productivity did somewhat improve, but there was not enough information to see if this change would be something sustained long term. And finally the provider perception of the OAS system was overall negative in regards to how the providers felt the OAS system affected their job, but there was one positive aspect of the system, that providers could request time off work with shorter notice. The limitations of the study were due to the fact that the time frame of study was short and the data was not statistically analyzed to control for outside factors, such as provider turnover. Overall, this study will add to the limited body of knowledge on the use of OAS systems in practice and provide information about their use in community mental health clinics.