Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name



Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

Saravanan Venkatachalam

Second Advisor

Ratna Babu Chinnam


A variety of studies have documented the substantial deficiencies in the quality of health care

delivered across the United States. Attempts to reform the United States health care system in the 1980s and 1990s were inspired by the system's inability to adequately provide access, ensure quality, and restrain costs, but these efforts had limited success. In the era of managed care, access, quality, and costs are still challenges, and medical professionals are increasingly dissatisfied.

In recent years, appointment scheduling in outpatient clinics has attracted much attention in

health care delivery systems. Increase in demand for health care services as well as health care costs are the most important reasons and motivations for health care decision makers to improve health care systems. The goals of health care systems include patient satisfaction as well as system utilization. Historically, less attention was given to patient satisfaction compared to system utilization and conveniences of care providers. Recently, health care systems have started setting goals regarding patient satisfaction and improving the performance of the health system by providing timely and appropriate health care delivery.

In this study we discuss methods for improving patient flow through outpatient clinics considering effective appointment scheduling policies by applying two-stage Stochastic Mixed-Integer Linear Program Model (two-stage SMILP) approaches. Goal is to improve the following patient flow metrics: direct wait time (clinic wait time) and indirect wait time considering patient’s no-show behavior, stochastic server, follow-up surgery appointments, and overbooking. The research seeks to develop two models: 1) a method to optimize the (weekly) scheduling pattern for individual providers that would be updated at regular intervals (e.g., quarterly or annually) based on the type and mix of services rendered and 2) a method for dynamically scheduling patients using the weekly scheduling pattern. Scheduling templates will entertain the possibility of arranging multiple appointments at once. The aim is to increase throughput per session while providing timely care, continuity of care, and overall patient satisfaction as well as equity of resource utilization. First, we use risk-neutral two-stage stochastic programming model where the objective function considers the expected value as a performance criterion in the selection of random variables like total waiting times and next, we expand the model formulation to mean-risk two-stage stochastic programming in which we investigate the effect of considering a risk measure in the model. We apply Conditional-Value-at-Risk (CVaR) as a risk measure for the two-stage stochastic programming model. Results from testing our models using data inspired by real-world OBGYN clinics suggest that the proposed formulations can improve patient satisfaction through reduced direct and indirect waiting times without compromising provider utilization.