Modelling and optimization of outpatient appointment scheduling

Mahmoud H. Alrefaei, Ali Diabat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-450
Number of pages16
JournalRAIRO - Operations Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Appointment system
  • Multi-objective optimization
  • Ranking and selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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