Mathematical Programming and Heuristics for Patient Scheduling in Hospitals: A Survey

Mathematical Programming and Heuristics for Patient Scheduling in Hospitals: A Survey

Daniel Gartner (Cardiff University, UK) and Rema Padman (Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0920-2.ch038
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The effective and efficient treatment of individual patients subject to scarce hospital resources is an increasingly important and challenging problem for decision makers to address. A recent study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics listed Registered Nursing among the top occupations in terms of job growth until the year 2022 (American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2015)). This growing demand can be explained in part by the large number of aging baby boomers with multi-morbid health conditions who typically require more treatments and longer length of stay in a variety of healthcare delivery settings (Vetrano et al. (2014)). Given the projected demand growth and reduced mobility of elderly patients, efficient operational research methods have to be developed and deployed for optimizing the process of scheduling the treatment of individual patients in highly resource constrained environments. We will henceforth denote this process as ‘patient scheduling' and provide a problem definition and a review of current approaches in the course of this chapter.
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Definition And Characteristics Of Patient Scheduling

A search for definitions for the term ‘patient scheduling’ revealed that there is lack of precision in its definition. An excellent starting point, however, is provided by Hulshof et al. (2012) who state the following: “Based on the appointment scheduling blueprint developed on the tactical level, patient scheduling comprises scheduling of an appointment in a particular time slot for a particular patient. A patient may require multiple appointments on one or more days. Therefore, we distinguish scheduling a single appointment, combination appointments and appointment series.”

Below is a definition of the term ‘patient scheduling’, followed by some examples.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Surgical Care Services: Provide operative procedures (surgeries) for the correction of deformities and defects, repair of injuries, and diagnosis and cure of certain diseases. Examples of surgical care facilities are the hospital’s operating theater, surgical daycare centers and anesthesia facilities ( Hulshof et al. (2012) ).

Overnight Resources: Resources that are allocated overnight and between two consecutive days, for example, beds.

Residential Care Services: provide supervision and assistance in activities of daily living with medical and nursing services when required. Examples are nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitation clinics with overnight stay, homes for the aged, and hospices ( Hulshof et al. (2012) ).

Clinical Pathway: A standardized, actionable plan, based on best practice recommendations for a health care process ( Gartner and Kolisch (2014) , Zhang and Padman (2015) ).

Mathematical Model: In Operations Research, a mathematical model involves a set of mathematical relationships (such as equations, inequalities and logical dependencies) that correspond to some more down to earth relationships in real world ( Williams (2013) ).

Patient Scheduling: The process of assigning individual patients and/or patients’ activities to time and/or healthcare resources.

Operations Research: A scientific approach to decision making that seeks to best design and operate a system, usually under conditions requiring the allocation of scarce resources (Winston (2004) AU42: The in-text citation "Winston (2004)" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Ambulatory Care Services: Provide medical interventions without overnight stay, that is, the patient arrives at the facility and leaves the facility on the same day ( Hulshof et al. (2012) ).

Heuristics: Methods which lead to a good (but not necessarily optimal) solution. They are used to solve a problem by trial and error when an algorithmic approach is impractical (Winston (2004) AU41: The in-text citation "Winston (2004)" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Inpatient Care: Refers to care for a patient who is formally admitted (or ‘hospitalized’) for treatment and/or care and stays for a minimum of one night in the hospital ( Hulshof et al. (2012) ).

Day Resources: Resources that are allocated during a day, for example, operating rooms.

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