Admission Control Bias and Path-Dependent Feedback Under Diagnosis Uncertainty

43 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2021 Last revised: 21 Mar 2023

See all articles by Song-Hee Kim

Song-Hee Kim

Seoul National University - Business School

Jordan Tong

Wisconsin School of Business

Date Written: March 21, 2023


Problem definition: Do physicians exhibit predictable behavioral bias when making admission control decisions under patient diagnosis uncertainty with stochastic arrivals and lengths of stay? How can we structure feedback to help improve their decision-making?

Methodology/results: We use a behavioral model to theorize how a diagnosis anchoring and insufficient adjustment heuristic may lead to an over-rationing bias, and we hypothesize when this bias is greatest. We then propose that feedback for rejected patients---above and beyond feedback for admitted patients---is critical for mitigating this bias. This is because feedback for only admitted patients may suffer from a type of path dependency that prevents decision-makers from receiving the most helpful disconfirming feedback. We provide evidence supporting these hypotheses using pre-registered experiments in which medical students, Amazon Mechanical Turk workers, or Prolific workers manage admissions for simulated hospital units.

Managerial implications: Our results (1) illuminate an important anchoring bias in admission control under diagnosis uncertainty, (2) identify rejected-patient feedback as a critical component for mitigating this bias, and (3) provide insight into the circumstances under which these phenomena are likely to be most significant.

Keywords: healthcare operations, behavioral operations, laboratory experiments, admission control, diagnostic uncertainty, system neglect, base-rate neglect, feedback

Suggested Citation

Kim, Song-Hee and Tong, Jordan, Admission Control Bias and Path-Dependent Feedback Under Diagnosis Uncertainty (March 21, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Song-Hee Kim (Contact Author)

Seoul National University - Business School ( email )

Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Jordan Tong

Wisconsin School of Business ( email )

975 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics