Outpatient Appointment Scheduling under Patient No-shows
Dr Serhan Ziya
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Time, Date, Venue
Monday 18, January 2010, 13.00-14.00 University College London (1st floor Exec-ed room, Engineering Front Building, "Malet place" in Google maps)
For service systems like outpatient clinics, appointments are used to regulate demand and utilize available capacity efficiently. However, particularly in the healthcare setting, a significant obstacle to having a highly utilized system is high no-show rates. Although there are many factors that lead to no-shows, empirical studies clearly indicate that the higher the number of days patients have to wait to see their physicians, the higher the chances that they will not show up for their appointments. This poses a significant challenge to the managers of healthcare clinics. On the one hand, they would like to schedule appointments to the earliest day possible so as to reduce no-shows; on the other hand, they would like to distribute the load on the clinic over a number of days to minimize the number of days during which the clinic is overwhelmed by patient demand. In this talk, we develop a decision model that explicitly considers the fact that patients become no-shows with probabilities that increase with their appointment delays. We propose easy-to-implement scheduling policies, and show via a simulation study that the policies we propose outperform some of the scheduling policies adopted in practice, particularly when there is a high patient load.
Dr Serhan Ziya is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Statistics and Operations Research at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.