Modelling and optimization of outpatient appointment scheduling
RAIRO - Operations Research - Recherche Opérationnelle, Volume 49 (2015) no. 3, pp. 435-450.

We consider the problem of appointment scheduling for outpatient departments in health care systems. The objective is to design an appointment system that minimizes the average waiting time per patient, while at the same time ensuring the effective use of resources, by maximizing doctor utilization and minimizing the average number of patients in the clinic. We model the appointment system problem as a multi-objective optimization problem with three objectives. Several new alternative appointment systems are considered, and the new systems are modelled and simulated using the software Arena. Subsequently, a new version of ranking and selection approaches is used to compare the alternative systems, by constructing a set of Pareto optimal solutions that consists of non-dominated systems with a predetermined level of confidence. Finally, we present the numerical results obtained by implementing the proposed procedure on an outpatient clinic, taking into account the no-show patients as well as the walk-in patients.

DOI: 10.1051/ro/2014041
Classification: 90B50, 90B36, 81T80, 68M20
Keywords: Appointment system, ranking and selection, multi-objective optimization
Alrefaei, Mahmoud H. 1; Diabat, Ali 2

1 Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Jordan University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 3030, 22110 Irbid, Jordan.
2 Department of Engineering Systems & Management, Masdar Institute of Science & Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
     author = {Alrefaei, Mahmoud H. and Diabat, Ali},
     title = {Modelling and optimization of outpatient appointment scheduling},
     journal = {RAIRO - Operations Research - Recherche Op\'erationnelle},
     pages = {435--450},
     publisher = {EDP-Sciences},
     volume = {49},
     number = {3},
     year = {2015},
     doi = {10.1051/ro/2014041},
     mrnumber = {3349128},
     zbl = {1322.90040},
     language = {en},
     url = {}
AU  - Alrefaei, Mahmoud H.
AU  - Diabat, Ali
TI  - Modelling and optimization of outpatient appointment scheduling
JO  - RAIRO - Operations Research - Recherche Opérationnelle
PY  - 2015
SP  - 435
EP  - 450
VL  - 49
IS  - 3
PB  - EDP-Sciences
UR  -
DO  - 10.1051/ro/2014041
LA  - en
ID  - RO_2015__49_3_435_0
ER  - 
%0 Journal Article
%A Alrefaei, Mahmoud H.
%A Diabat, Ali
%T Modelling and optimization of outpatient appointment scheduling
%J RAIRO - Operations Research - Recherche Opérationnelle
%D 2015
%P 435-450
%V 49
%N 3
%I EDP-Sciences
%R 10.1051/ro/2014041
%G en
%F RO_2015__49_3_435_0
Alrefaei, Mahmoud H.; Diabat, Ali. Modelling and optimization of outpatient appointment scheduling. RAIRO - Operations Research - Recherche Opérationnelle, Volume 49 (2015) no. 3, pp. 435-450. doi : 10.1051/ro/2014041.

M.H. Alrefaei and A. Diabat, A simulated annealing technique for multi-objective simulation optimization. Appl. Math. Comput. 215 (2009) 3029–3035. | MR | Zbl

M.H. Alrefaei, A.B. Nahiah, A. Abu-lebda and K. Khayal, Simulating and optimizing scheduling system of outpatient department. Proc. of the International Conference on Operations Research and Statistics (ORS 2011) 2011.

M. Babes and G.V. Sarma, Out-patient queues at the Ibn-Rochd health center. J. Oper. Res. Soc. 42 (1991) 845–855. | DOI | Zbl

N. Bailey, A study of queues and appointment systems in hospital outpatient departments with special reference to waiting Times. J. Roy. Statist. Soc. 14 (1952) 185–199.

M. Brahimi and D. Worthington, Queuing models for out-patient appointment systems - a case study. J. Oper. Res. Soc. 5 (1991) 91–102. | Zbl

T. Cayirli, E. Veral and H. Rosen, Designing appointment scheduling systems for ambulatory care services. Health Care Manage. Sci. 9 (2006) 47–58. | DOI

T. Cayirli, E. Veral and H. Rosen, Assessment of patient classification in appointment system design. Prod. Oper. Manage. 17 (2008) 338–353. | DOI

T. Cayirli and E. Veral, Outpatient-scheduling in healthcare: A review of the literature. Prod. Oper. Manage. 12 (2003) 519–549. | DOI

E.J. Chen, and L.H. Lee, A multi-objective selection procedure of determining a Pareto set. Comput. Oper. Res. 36 (2009) 1872–1879. | DOI | MR | Zbl

D. Gupta and B. Denton, Appointment scheduling in health care: Challenges and opportunities. IIE Trans. 40 (2008) 800–819. | DOI

C. Ho and H. Lau, Evaluating the impact of operating conditions on the performance of appointment scheduling rules in service systems. Eur. J. Oper. Res. 112 (1999) 542–553. | DOI | Zbl

S.H. Jacobson and J.R. Swisher, Applications of Discrete Event Simulation in Health Care Clinics. J. Oper. Res. Soc. 50 (1999) 109–123. | DOI | Zbl

B. Jerbi and H. Kamoun, Multiobjective study to implement outpatient appointment system at Hedi Chaker Hospital. Simul. Modell. Practice Theory 19 (2011) 1363–1370. | DOI

K. Klassen and T. Rohleder, Scheduling outpatient appointments in a dynamic environment. J. Oper. Manage. 14 (1996) 83–101. | DOI

A.M. Law and W.D. Kelton, Simul. Model. Anal., 3rd edition, Mc Graw Hill, New York (2000).

L. Liu and X. Liu, Block appointment systems for outpatient clinics with multiple doctors. J. Oper. Res. Soc. 49 (1998) 1254–1259. | DOI | Zbl

T. Rohleder and K. Klassen, Using client-variance information to improve dynamic Appointment scheduling performance. Omega 28 (2000) 293–302. | DOI

A. Soriano, Comparison of two scheduling systems, Oper. Res. 14 (1966) 388–397. | DOI

A. Wijewickrama and S. Takakuwa, Outpatient Appointment Scheduling in a Multi Facility System, in the Proc. of the 2008 Winter Simulation Conference, edited by S.J. Mason, R.R. Hill, L. Mnch, O. Rose, T. Jefferson, J.W. Fowler (2008) 1563–1571.

Cited by Sources: