Boucherie, R; Litvak, N.; Vleggeert-Lankamp, C. and Zonderland, M. (2010). Planning and scheduling of semi-urgent surgeries. Health Care Management Science, Volume 13, Issue 3, Pages 256-267. DOI: 10.1007/s10729-010-9127-6. Retrieved from: http://www.springerlink.com/content/h16v8218w37l1014/abstract/.
This paper investigates the trade-off between cancellations of elective surgeries due to semi-urgent surgeries, and unused operating room (OR) time due to excessive reservation of OR time for semi-urgent surgeries.Semi-urgent surgeries, to be performed soon but not necessarily today, pose an uncertain demand on available hospital resources, and interfere with the planning of elective patients. For a highly utilized OR, reservation of OR time for semi-urgent surgeries avoids excessive cancellations of elective surgeries, but may also result in unused OR time, since arrivals of semi-urgent patients are unpredictable. First, using a queuing theory framework, we evaluate the OR capacity needed to accommodate every incoming semi-urgent surgery. Second, we introduce another queuing model that enables a trade-off between the cancelation rate of elective surgeries and unused OR time. Third, based on Markov decision theory, we develop a decision support tool that assists the scheduling process of elective and semi-urgent surgeries. We demonstrate our results with actual data obtained from a department of neurosurgery (Boucherie, et al, 2010).