Appointment scheduling with no-shows and overbooking

Christos Zacharias, Michael Pinedo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


We study an overbooking model for scheduling arrivals at a medical facility under no-show behavior, with patients having different no-show probabilities and different weights. The scheduler has to assign the patients to time slots in such a way that she minimizes the expected weighted sum of the patients' waiting times and the doctor's idle time and overtime. We first consider the static problem, where the set of patients to be scheduled and their characteristics are known in advance. We partially characterize the optimal schedule and introduce a new sequencing rule that schedules patients according to a single index that is a function of their characteristics. Then we apply our theoretical results and conclusions from numerical experiments to sequential scheduling procedures. We propose a heuristic solution to the sequential scheduling problem, where requests for appointments come in gradually over time and the scheduler has to assign each patient to one of the remaining slots that are available in the schedule for a given day. We find that the no-show rate and patients' heterogeneity have a significant impact on the optimal schedule and should be taken under consideration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)788-801
Number of pages14
JournalProduction and Operations Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • appointment scheduling
  • health care
  • no-shows
  • overbooking
  • sequential scheduling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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