Research Article

A systematized approach for reduction of medical appointment waiting list

Bruno S. Gonçalves; Elisa Vieira; Rui M. Lima; José Dinis-Carvalho

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Paper aims: This work aims to develop a systematized approach for the reduction of medical appointment waiting lists, proposing an optimization decision-making model followed by continuous people engagement towards a systematic approach for waiting list problem-solving.

Originality: There are several studies related to waiting lists in healthcare contexts, however, the present study presents an innovative approach for waiting list problem-solving by proposing prescriptive decision-making models followed by continuous improvement and people engagement.

Research method: A research approach with the following phases was developed: system analysis, problem quantification, and development of an optimization model. After these phases, the model was applied, and the results were analysed, as contributions to a systematized model.

Main findings: The model was applied to the screening waiting list for orthopaedics appointments followed by the fundamental involvement of medical doctors, which made it possible to implement the optimal solution generated by the model, resulting in a reduction of 90% by 56 days in waiting time for the screening process.

Implications for theory and practice: This model contributes for theory and for practice as a way to deal with different scenarios for waiting list reduction in the upcoming days during and after the pandemic.


Hospital operations management, Lean healthcare, Capacity planning, Waiting list, Elective patients


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