Title: Pattern Scheduling: A Practical Approach For Scheduling Elective Surgeries
Doctoral student: Ásgeir Örn Sigurpálsson
Thomas Philip Rúnarsson, Professor at the Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Iceland.
Rögnvaldur J. Sæmundsson, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Iceland.
Edmund K. Burke, Professor, Queen Mary University of London
Hospitals worldwide are facing the pressure of an ageing population and an increase in the cost of care. In response, hospitals have sought to improve the utilization of their existing resources. As such, Operating Rooms (ORs), which have widely been named the costliest unit of each hospital, have received considerable attention. Typically, it is required to keep the ORs well-utilized, but at the same time, it is essential to consider the limited downstream resources such as wards. Ignoring the downstream resources while scheduling might cause a last-minute cancellation.
To this date, there is a large volume of peer-reviewed journal articles on this subject in the field of operation research where many different models and techniques have been proposed. However, it has proved difficult to find practical methods that solve the problem. This research aims to propose a new practical approach that can be used to schedule elective surgeries on operating room days such that throughput is maximized but the risk of a ward overflow is reduced.
This lecture will cover the challenges of implementing and developing practical optimization models for surgery scheduling. A new method called Pattern Scheduling, which was developed in this research project will be presented. To demonstrate the benefits of the method, a comparison will be provided between an actual schedule and a schedule using the Pattern Scheduling approach for one surgical speciality at the National University Hospital of Iceland. Preliminary results indicate the possibility of increasing throughput while maintaining a balanced flow to the wards by using this method. Regardless, there is still the possibility of improving the new method even more. Therefore, the potential for future research will be addressed.