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Bi-Criteria Scheduling of Surgical Services for an Outpatient Procedure Center

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Abstract

Uncertainty in the duration of surgical procedures can cause long patient wait times, poor utilization of resources, and high overtime costs. We compare several heuristics for scheduling an Outpatient Procedure Center. First, a discrete event simulation model is used to evaluate how 12 different sequencing and patient appointment time-setting heuristics perform with respect to the competing criteria of expected patient waiting time and expected surgical suite overtime for a single day compared with current practice. Second, a bi-criteria genetic algorithm (GA) is used to determine if better solutions can be obtained for this single day scheduling problem. Third, we investigate the efficacy of the bi-criteria GA when surgeries are allowed to be moved to other days. We present numerical experiments based on real data from a large health care provider. Our analysis provides insight into the best scheduling heuristics, and the trade-off between patient and health care provider-based criteria. Finally, we summarize several important managerial insights based on our findings.

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