Health Care Management Science

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 180–195 | Cite as

A decision support system for real-time scheduling of multiple patient classes in outpatient services

  • William P. MillhiserEmail author
  • Emre A. Veral


We propose a methodology to provide real-time assistance for outpatient scheduling involving multiple patient types. Schedulers are shown how each prospective placement in the appointment book would impact a day’s operational performance for patients and providers. Rooted in prior literature and analytical findings, the information provided to schedulers about vacant slots is based on the probabilities that the calling patient, the already-existing appointments, and the session-end time will be unduly delayed. The information is updated in real-time before and after every new booking; calculations are driven by each patient type’s historical consultation times and no-show data, and implemented via a simulation tool based on the underlying analytical methodology. Our findings lead to practical guidelines for dynamically constructing templates that provide allowances for different consultation durations, service time variability, no-show rates, and provider-driven performance targets for patient waiting and provider overtime. Extensions to healthcare batch scheduling applications such as radiology, surgery, or chemotherapy—where patient mixes may be known in advance—are suggested as future research opportunities since avoiding session overtime and procedures’ completion time delays involve similar considerations.


Outpatient appointment scheduling Ambulatory care services Simulation Decision support 



The authors are grateful to Mr. Harshad Rokade, M.S., for DSS prototype development and coding support.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management, Zicklin School of Business Baruch CollegeThe City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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