Effects of clinical characteristics on successful open access scheduling

Renata Kopach, Po Ching DeLaurentis, Mark Lawley, Kumar Muthuraman, Leyla Ozsen, Ron Rardin, Hong Wan, Paul Intrevado, Xiuli Qu, Deanna Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

92 Scopus citations


Many outpatient clinics are experimenting with open access scheduling. Under open access, patients see their physicians within a day or two of making their appointment request, and long term patient booking is very limited. The hope is that these short appointment lead times will improve patient access and reduce uncertainty in clinic operations by reducing patient no-shows. Practice shows that successful implementation can be strongly influenced by clinic characteristics, indicating that open access policies must be designed to account for local clinical conditions. The effects of four variables on clinic performance are examined: (1) the fraction of patients being served on open access, (2) the scheduling horizon for patients on longer term appointment scheduling, (3) provider care groups, and (4) overbooking. Discrete event simulation, designed experimentation, and data drawn from an intercity clinic in central Indiana are used to study the effects of these variables on clinic throughput and patient continuity of care. Results show that, if correctly configured, open access can lead to significant improvements in clinic throughput with little sacrifice in continuity of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-124
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Care Management Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007


  • Appointment scheduling
  • Open access
  • Outpatient clinic
  • Patient no-show
  • Simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Health Professions(all)

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    Kopach, R., DeLaurentis, P. C., Lawley, M., Muthuraman, K., Ozsen, L., Rardin, R., Wan, H., Intrevado, P., Qu, X., & Willis, D. (2007). Effects of clinical characteristics on successful open access scheduling. Health Care Management Science, 10(2), 111-124. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10729-007-9008-9