The Effects of Patient No-Shows on Traditional and Open-Access Appointment Scheduling Policies
51 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2009 Last revised: 26 Oct 2009
Date Written: March 17, 2009
This paper compares two types of appointment scheduling policies for single providers: traditional and open-access. Under traditional scheduling, each of a specified number of patients per day is booked well in advance, but may not show up for his or her appointment. Under open-access scheduling, each of a random number of patient calls in the morning to make an appointment for that same day. Thus the number of patient arrivals will be random, for different reasons, under both policies. We find that the open-access schedule will significantly outperform the traditional schedule - in terms of a weighted average of patients’ waiting time, the doctor’s idle time, and the doctor’s overtime - except when patient waiting time is held in little regard, or when the probability of no-shows is quite small.
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