Double booking appointments may reduce costs, improve patient flow

The Center for Health Organization Transformation is examining whether systems engineering approaches, including overbooking some appointments to account for no shows, can help reduce the nation’s health care costs while improving patient care, according to an article in U.S. News & World Report.

The article reports that the Center is using mathematical algorithms and other models to examine patient flow and identify the types of patients most likely to miss an appointment.  Using this information, they are experimenting with different ways of overbooking, such as clustering the double-booked appointments at certain times of the day, or spreading them throughout the day. 

The hope is that this could lead to a way to maximize patient flow while reducing costs.

(Sources: Kaiser Daily Health Policy Project, http://kaiserhealthnews.org, September 21, 2010; U.S. News & World Report, http://www.usnews.com, September 20, 2010)