Reduction of service time variation in patient visit groups using decision tree method for an effective scheduling

Yu Li Huang, Alla Kammerdiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patient dissatisfaction has long been a recognised problem in current outpatient healthcare delivery systems especially with patient wait time. Many solutions have tried to improve the service quality from the view points of cost reduction and increasing utilisation of medical staff. However, the uncertainty of physician treatment time has been one of the primary concerns for effective scheduling. This paper demonstrates an analytical concept on improving quality of service for a clinic from the aspects of reducing costs and waiting by reclassifying patient visit groups in order to reduce the variability of physician service uncertainty. A case study from an orthopaedic surgery clinic is presented to illustrate the classification method by using a decision tree technique and how the redesign of scheduling better manages the variability of treatment times, helps alleviate the wait time for both patients and physicians, reduce overall costs of waiting and overtime, and consequently, improve the overall service quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2013


  • Appointment
  • Decision tree
  • Healthcare delivery
  • Patient group
  • Patient wait time
  • Physician idle time
  • Reclassification
  • Scheduling
  • Service quality
  • Treatment time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health Informatics


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