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Block appointment systems for outpatient clinics with multiple doctors. (English) Zbl 1140.90450
Summary: Studies of appointment systems have to some extent led to a wide acceptance of individual or block appointment schemes in private practice and outpatient clinics. Most of the studies assume there is one punctual doctor in a clinic, which is often not the case in reality. Motivated by observations of actual clinic operations, we develop a block appointment system for clinic operations with multiple random arriving doctors. Through extensive simulation studies, we identify properties shared by the best appointment schedules. With these properties we can design a scheme based on simulation search that provides the optimal schedule for a given scheduling environment in an acceptable computation time. A simple (suboptimal) appointment rule is also proposed.

90B90 Case-oriented studies in operations research
90B22 Queues and service in operations research
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