Look, someone _else_ made the airline/doctor comparison! Well, it's better than restaurants. I, of course, went straight to, don't overbook, you assholes. Also, I don't understand why no one appears to be factoring in how, if you overbook and have to bump, that tends to result in late flights and potentially cascading missed connections. Plus, all the administrative costs of calling and holding flights and so forth. Those are "free"! (<-- sarcasm)
In this one, someone actually modeled why people were skipping appointments.
"In this instance, a Northeastern engineering team used computer modeling to identify the types of patients most likely to skip their appointments, which here turned out to be those scheduled for an annual exam, and to figure out how much to overbook each day."
Well, hang on. Maybe you should just NOT FUCKING BOOK an annual exam. See current recommendations for pap smears, etc. If you've got a bunch of patients who book annuals but then show up every other year you should schedule every other year. If you've got a bunch of patients who you first notice that they moved when they no show at their annual and your reminder call went to a changed phone number, you should maybe send out reminder cards, rather than booking a year out. Etc. DO NOT ASSUME OVERBOOKING IS THE RIGHT SOLUTION.
"Overbooking now means scheduling more patients then you have capacity to handle in a time slot."
All doctors work this way anyway. I shudder to think what overbooking implies.
"There is a legitimate need to hedge against idle resources and if no shows are a fact of life, overbooking is pretty much the only available answer."
No. No it is not. I question your "legitimate need to hedge against idle resources". What, there's no backlog of stuff that needs to be done other than direct patient care? Because there are usually phone calls, patient portal messages, communication with support personnel, etc. to do. Why not do that during the no-shows exam period? Then maybe you could go home at the end of the day when you are supposed to.