A Comparison of Traditional and Open-Access Policies for Appointment Scheduling
Lawrence W. Robinson () and
Rachel R. Chen ()
Additional contact information Lawrence W. Robinson: Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853
Rachel R. Chen: Graduate School of Management, University of California at Davis, Davis, California 95616
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, a random number of patients call 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.