Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Mechanical Engineering


The objective of this investigation was to design a procedure by which an appointment scheduling system could be developed in which 75 percent of the punctual patients would be seen by the physician within fifteen minutes of their appointment tithes, and to test the system in an actual clinic situation. It was also decided that certain results would be tested for statistical significance. To devise an appointment system that would yield optimum benefits to the patients, to the physicians, and to the clinic as a whole, proper consideration must be given to the type of physician/patient interaction taking place in that clinic. The nature of the appointment scheduling procedure is a function of whether the system is a single-physician clinic, a. multi-physician clinic with physicians individually scheduled, a multi-physician clinic with choice of physician not given, or a hospital outpatient clinic. Hence, a brief description of these various types of patient/physician interaction and their effect on the appointment scheduling system is in order. 1. Single-physician clinic. The single-physician clinic consists of one physician who services all the patients with minimal or no laboratory facilities. Normally the patients, or their samples, are sent to an outside laboratory for laboratory tests. Then the patients are rescheduled at a later date for further diagnosis when the results from the laboratory are available. 2. Multi-physician clinic with physicians individually scheduled. The patients in a multi-physician clinic have their choice of physicians. Each physician has at least one qualified nurse and one or more examination rooms assigned to him. The physicians share laboratory, surgical suites, and other special examination facilities. Results of tests are frequently available for a second consultation in the same session. 3. Multi-physician clinic with choice of physician not given. In this form of the multi-physician clinic, the patient does not have his choice of a physician but is assigned to a physician depending upon who is free at the appointment time. This arrangement reduces the patient-waiting time considerably, but the patient cannot have his choice of physician. 4. Hospital outpatient clinic. The hospital outpatient clinic is essentially a non-choice multi-physician clinic based in a hospital. It has the advantage that the emergency patients can be taken care of more easily and without loss of time because of its location. All four types of clinics were not available for study. As one of the physicians in a multi-physician clinic, with individual physician scheduling, expressed an interest in the development of a new scheduling procedure, it was decided to cooperate with him in this study.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Hospitals -- Outpatient services



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University