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Improving outpatient clinic efficiency using computer simulation

John E. Clague (Department of Medicine and Department of Computer Sciences, University of Liverpool, UK)
Patrick G. Reed (Department of Medicine and Department of Computer Sciences, University of Liverpool, UK)
Judith Barlow (Department of Medicine and Department of Computer Sciences, University of Liverpool, UK)
Roy Rada (Department of Medicine and Department of Computer Sciences, University of Liverpool, UK)
Margaret Clarke (Department of Medicine and Department of Computer Sciences, University of Liverpool, UK)
Richard H.T. Edwards (Department of Medicine and Department of Computer Sciences, University of Liverpool, UK)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Article publication date: 1 September 1997

2415

Abstract

To assess and plan alterations in outpatient clinic structure, produces a computer simulation of an outpatient clinic based on detailed time and role measurements from the authors’ clinic. The simulation which used an object‐oriented design method is able to indicate the impact of changes in clinic structure using patient and doctor waiting times in clinic as endpoint measures. Examines the effects of changes in clinic size, consultation time, patient mix, appointment scheduling and non‐attendance. Finds that patient waiting time could be shortened considerably by using an optimizing appointment scheduler to determine appointment intervals. Clinic mix influences patient waiting time, which was shorter with a 1 in 4 ratio of new to follow‐up patients. In mixed clinics, new patients appointments are optimally spread throughout the clinic to reduce patient waiting time. In all new or all follow‐up clinics, waiting time is improved if the appointment interval reflects the consultation time. Computer modelling can help in optimizing clinic management so improving the delivery of care in outpatient services.

Keywords

Citation

Clague, J.E., Reed, P.G., Barlow, J., Rada, R., Clarke, M. and Edwards, R.H.T. (1997), "Improving outpatient clinic efficiency using computer simulation", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 10 No. 5, pp. 197-201. https://doi.org/10.1108/09526869710174177

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1997, MCB UP Limited

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