The Appointment Scheduling Problem: The Doctor, Her Patients and The Waiting Room

Séminaire le 8 Juillet 2016, 14h00 à CentraleSupelec (Gif-sur-Yvette) Salle du conseil du L2S - B4.40
Prof. Stijn De Vuyst, Ghent University (UGent), Belgium.

We consider the appointment scheduling problem in the case of one doctor who sequentially provides service to the patients in the waiting room, in particular with respect to the incurred waiting times for both the patients and the doctor. This problem is different from a classical single-service queueing system in at least two ways: (1) the arrivals happen at pre-determined instants instead of randomly and (2) equilibrium solutions are of no use here since we need to know the waiting time of each individual patient. Given the length of the session and the consultation time distribution of each of K scheduled patient, we obtain the moments of the patient's waiting time and of the doctor's idle times. We also discuss the complicating factors such as the impact of unpunctuality, i.e. what happens if patients do not arrive exactly as appointed as usually the case in practice. A mild degree of unpunctuality can be handled by our model, but problems arise as soon as patients can overtake each other. Finally, we use the our results to construct suitable heuristics for finding optimal optimal appointment schedules.

Biography: Stijn De Vuyst is currently assistant professor at the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture of Ghent University (UGent), Belgium, in the Department of Industrial Systems Engineering and Product Design. His expertise is in operations research, in particular stochastic modelling, simulation, queueing theory and scheduling with application to the design, planning and performance evaluation of production systems as well as telecommunication systems. He obtained a master degree in Electrical Engineering and a PhD degree in Engineering Sciences at Ghent University. Prior to 2012, he was a post-doctoral researcher affiliated with the department of Telecommunication and Information Processing and for 6 months with the Informatics department at Université Libre de Bruxelles. From 2012 to 2015 he presided the faculty's educational board for the Master program Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. He currently teaches various courses on stochastic simulation, quality engineering and industrial statistics.