Yield Management in Health Care Clinics with Walk-In Traffic

LaGanga, L.R. & Lawrence, S.R. (2009). The Mental Health Center of Denver, Vol. 1. Page(s): 1-10.

An important problem in health care operations involves yield management in health clinics where patients often do not arrive for scheduled appointments (are “no-shows”). A second issue is the frequent presence of “walk-in” traffic where patients arrive for service unscheduled and unannounced, but must be served. In this paper, we investigate the management and scheduling of health care clinics in the presence of both walk-in traffic and appointment no-shows. We build on recent research that has developed methods to determine optimal and near-optimal appointment schedules when there are patient no-shows. Our analysis employs a clinic utility model that works to balance the benefits of seeing additional patients (both scheduled and walk-in) with the implicit costs of patient waiting time and the possibility of clinic overtime. Results demonstrate that compared to an all-walk-in clinic, even a modest number of scheduled appointments can significantly improve patient service and clinic performance.

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Resource Topics: Quality & Process Improvement