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Sustainability: Moving from Common Sense to Common Practice
2016 International Conference
Leesburg, VA - National Conference Center

September 18th - 21st


An Examination of the Academic, Practitioner, TOC & Our Perspectives of the Provider Appointment Scheduling System: Part 2

James Cox III - Professor Emeritus Terry College of Business, University of Georgia
Co-Presenter, Lynn Boyd - Associate Professor of Management at the University of Louisville




The problem of appointment scheduling in healthcare has been researched by well over a hundred academicians and practitioners for over sixty years without any viable solution being identified. There is little overlap in the research by these two groups. Academicians are primarily measured and rewarded by publishing in top tier academic journals, which generally requires theory development, sophisticated statistical analyses, or optimization techniques. In academia, the rigor of the research is of utmost importance. On the other hand, practitioners are interested in how to solve specific problems, so the relevance of the research is the primary concern. In 2012, Cox and Robinson presented a case study that solved many of the appointment scheduling problems of a large family practice clinic. Since that presentation, a literature search of the appointment scheduling area has revealed the above divide between the academic and practitioner approaches to the appointment scheduling problem. This review of the combined literature also revealed 14 major "problems” (UDEs). In a preliminary study presented in South Africa in 2015 these UDEs are analyzed from a TOC perspective using the three processes of ongoing improvement (POOGI): the change question sequence, buffer management, and the five focusing steps. We then use classification (the first stage of science) to sort through the causal relationships (the third stage of science) in moving from the chaos of the problem environment to the harmony of the TOC solution environment and approach. In this research we will review those findings and present some illustrations of the scheduling solutions. We also discuss two possible approaches to bridging the academic – practitioner divide, design science and TOC as theory development, that may help TOC be accepted in top-tier academic journals. We hope the solution-development process of using the POOGI and classification of TOC will provide an approach to addressing other chronic problems and will find acceptance in top academic journals.



James Cox III, Ph.D., TOCICO certified, CFPIM, CIRM, JONAH’s JONAH, Professor Emeritus, was the Robert O. Arnold Professor of Business at the University of Georgia. Prior to an academic career of over 30 years, he held positions in industry and the military. He taught Jonah workshops and numerous TOC workshops and programs.

Dr. Cox’s research has centered on TOC for over twenty-five years. He recently co-edited (with John Schleier) the TOC Handbook. He has written three books on TOC and has authored/coauthored over 90 articles in top academic and practitioner journals including Decision Sciences, the Academy of Management Review and Journal, Production/ Operations Management Journal, MIS Quarterly, International Journal of Product Research, Production and Inventory Management Journal, and Industrial Engineering. He was the coeditor of the APICS Dictionary (five editions with John Blackstone) and more recently co-editor of the TOCICO Dictionary, 2nd edition.

Dr. Cox, an APICS member for over 35 years, held numerous chapter, regional, and national offices (BODs for 4 years, VP-Research for 2 years, Foundation BODs 9 years including 4 as president). He also served on the founding TOCICO Board of Directors and as its first director of certification. He has spoken at over 50 APICS and other professional organization chapter meetings, several regional seminars and several international conferences on TOC. He has received the APICS Voluntary Service Award and the TOCICO Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the field. He is currently serving on the TOCICO Board of Directors.


Lynn Boyd, Co-Presenter - PhD, Jonah, is associate professor of management at the University of Louisville, where he teaches operations management and managerial decision making. Prior to coming to the University of Louisville, Dr. Boyd received his PhD in Operations Management from the University of Georgia and worked at Deloitte & Touche in various positions through senior manager. He has published a number of articles on TOC, including production scheduling, the Thinking Processes and the theory of TOC.



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