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A three-phase approach for operating theatre schedules


  • Angela Testi


  • Elena Tanfani


  • Giancarlo Torre



In this paper we develop a three-phase, hierarchical approach for the weekly scheduling of operating rooms. This approach has been implemented in one of the surgical departments of a public hospital located in Genova (Genoa), Italy. Our aim is to suggest an integrated way of facing surgical activity planning in order to improve overall operating theatre efficiency in terms of overtime and throughput as well as waiting list reduction, while improving department organization. In the first phase we solve a bin packing-like problem in order to select the number of sessions to be weekly scheduled for each ward; the proposed and original selection criterion is based upon an updated priority score taking into proper account both the waiting list of each ward and the reduction of residual ward demand. Then we use a blocked booking method for determining optimal time tables, denoted Master Surgical Schedule (MSS), by defining the assignment between wards and surgery rooms. Lastly, once the MSS has been determined we use the simulation software environment Witness 2004 in order to analyze different sequencings of surgical activities that arise when priority is given on the basis of a) the longest waiting time (LWT), b) the longest processing time (LPT) and c) the shortest processing time (SPT). The resulting simulation models also allow us to outline possible organizational improvements in surgical activity. The results of an extensive computational experimentation pertaining to the studied surgical department are here given and analyzed. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Angela Testi & Elena Tanfani & Giancarlo Torre, 2007. "A three-phase approach for operating theatre schedules," Health Care Management Science, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 163-172, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:hcarem:v:10:y:2007:i:2:p:163-172
    DOI: 10.1007/s10729-007-9011-1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kleijnen, Jack P. C., 1995. "Verification and validation of simulation models," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 145-162, April.
    2. Bowers, John & Mould, Gillian, 2004. "Managing uncertainty in orthopaedic trauma theatres," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 154(3), pages 599-608, May.
    3. Blake, John T. & Carter, Michael W., 2002. "A goal programming approach to strategic resource allocation in acute care hospitals," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 140(3), pages 541-561, August.
    4. Yigal Gerchak & Diwakar Gupta & Mordechai Henig, 1996. "Reservation Planning for Elective Surgery Under Uncertain Demand for Emergency Surgery," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(3), pages 321-334, March.
    5. Guinet, Alain & Chaabane, Sondes, 2003. "Operating theatre planning," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 69-81, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:hcarem:v:20:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10729-015-9342-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Nico Dellaert & Jully Jeunet, 2013. "Pareto optimal strategies for improved operational plans of elective patients under multiple constrained resources," Working Papers 2013-14, Department of Research, Ipag Business School.
    3. Angela Testi & Elena Tànfani, 2009. "Tactical and operational decisions for operating room planning: Efficiency and welfare implications," Health Care Management Science, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 363-373, December.
    4. repec:eee:jomega:v:76:y:2018:i:c:p:160-173 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Choi, Sangdo & Wilhelm, Wilbert E., 2014. "An approach to optimize block surgical schedules," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 235(1), pages 138-148.
    6. repec:ipg:wpaper:14 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Range, Troels Martin & Kozlowski, Dawid & Petersen, Niels Chr., 2016. "Dynamic job assignment: A column generation approach with an application to surgery allocation," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 4/2016, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.
    8. Min, Daiki & Yih, Yuehwern, 2010. "Scheduling elective surgery under uncertainty and downstream capacity constraints," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 206(3), pages 642-652, November.
    9. repec:eee:ejores:v:262:y:2017:i:1:p:194-206 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:ipg:wpaper:201414 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Silva, Thiago A.O. & de Souza, Mauricio C. & Saldanha, Rodney R. & Burke, Edmund K., 2015. "Surgical scheduling with simultaneous employment of specialised human resources," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 245(3), pages 719-730.
    12. repec:ipg:wpaper:2013-014 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Cardoen, Brecht & Demeulemeester, Erik & Beliën, Jeroen, 2010. "Operating room planning and scheduling: A literature review," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 201(3), pages 921-932, March.
    14. Michael Samudra & Carla Van Riet & Erik Demeulemeester & Brecht Cardoen & Nancy Vansteenkiste & Frank E. Rademakers, 2016. "Scheduling operating rooms: achievements, challenges and pitfalls," Journal of Scheduling, Springer, vol. 19(5), pages 493-525, October.
    15. Francesca Guerriero & Rosita Guido, 2011. "Operational research in the management of the operating theatre: a survey," Health Care Management Science, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 89-114, March.

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    Scheduling; Simulation; Health economics;


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