The conversations of life

Can you cut doctor’s surgery waiting times? Yes – using maths


We’ve all been there. You make an appointment at the doctor and show up on time, only to be left sitting in the waiting room for half an hour – but is there a solution?

Kenneth Klassen, a professor of operations management at Canada’s Brock University, has researched the area and found medical appointments run late almost everywhere – because unlike the hairdresser or dentist, doctors don’t know how long each case will take.

His formula for cutting waiting times? Strategically scheduling appointments together at the start of the day to get patients into the queue so the doctor doesn’t stand around waiting.

They then need to spread the appointments out a little further apart to reduce the patient waiting time, he told ABC Radio Perth.

Then if the doctor wants to go home on time they need to bunch them together again at the end.

While some delays are impossible to avoid, Prof Klassen says it’s something that can definitely be addressed.

It’s worth trying. Anything to save us all from flicking through the same issue of Women’s Weekly again.

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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