Title: Designing outpatient appointment systems with patient characteristics: a case study

Authors: A.K. Athula Wijewickrama; Soemon Takakuwa

Addresses: Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, CO 10280, Sri Lanka ' School of Economics and Business Administration, Nagoya University, Furo Cho, Chikusa Ku, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan

Abstract: Appointment system design based on patient characteristics has become a recent issue. This is investigated in a multi-facility system with the presence of second consultation using the discrete event simulation methodology. Different appointment systems are simulated, combining appointment rules and patient sequences with the adjustment of appointment intervals based on patient characteristics. The results show that the interval adjustment made on patient classifications is more successful than sequencing patients without making a time adjustment. The study identifies some efficient appointment systems for a given situation in relation to the trade-off between patient waiting time and physician idle time, while emphasising the importance of not excluding a second consultation in designing appointment systems.

Keywords: appointment scheduling; discrete event simulation; multi-facility systems; second consultations; outpatients; appointment systems; patient characteristics; hospital patients; appointment rules; patient sequences; interval adjustments; appointment intervals; patient classifications; sequencing patients; time adjustments; trade-offs; patient waiting times; doctors; physicians; idle time; Aichi; Japan; hospitals; healthcare technology; healthcare management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHTM.2012.048953

International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management, 2012 Vol.13 No.1/2/3, pp.157 - 169

Available online: 05 Sep 2012

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