Revista médica de Chile
versión ISSN 0034-9887
SEPULVEDA R, Juan Pedro y BERROETA M, Cristián. Decision rules to schedule patient appointments. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2012, vol.140, n.7, pp. 867-872. ISSN 0034-9887. doi: 10.4067/S0034-98872012000700006.
Background:Outpatient scheduling has a significant impact on the perceived quality of service by the users and the efficient use of resources in the health system. There are mathematical methods that assist in solving this problem, but are seldom applied. Aim: To propose decision rules that are based on the own conditions of each institution and indicate which appointment system is the most suitable for the decision makers. Material and Methods: Through computer simulation, the effect of a wide range of decision and environmental factors over the appointment systems performance was assessed, in order to determine how these factors affect them. Re-suits: Consideringperformance indicators associated to the patient's satisfaction and resources utilization, scheduling shorter length patients (e.g. check-up patients) in the beginning of the working day resulted to be in the efficient solutions frontier, as well as scheduling patients in one person blocks (shifting to multiple patient blocks only if resources utilization indicators are prioritized). Conclusions: Performance indicators are more sensitive to the sequence used to schedule different length patients, rather than the number of patients scheduled per block. Moreover, decision rules based on the institution priorities are proposed, which are quite robust to environmental factors.
Palabras clave : Computer simulation; Outpatients; Point-of-care systems.