How do major hospitals schedule the use of operating theatres? Are they doing it the best way possible so that the maximum number of operations are done each day?
Hospital Operating Theatre scheduling involves an arrangement of several operating rooms to the medical surgeons in a period of time. In the health service sector such as government or private hospitals, the scheduling of Operating Theatre plays an important role towards achieving their goals. Their main goal is to meet the patients’ satisfaction by minimizing his/her total waiting time before undergoing major or minor operations.
Poor scheduling of Operating Theatre may cause longer waiting time and can also worsen the patient’s disease. In this case, an effective schedule has to be developed in order to improve the reputation and performance of government as well as private hospitals.
Scheduling of Hospital Operating Theatre can be divided into several types of strategies which are open scheduling, block scheduling and modified block scheduling. Open scheduling allows surgical cases to be assigned to an operating room available at the convenience of the surgeons. Meanwhile, for block scheduling, specific surgeons or groups of surgeons are assigned a set of time blocks, normally for some weeks or months, into which they can arrange their surgical cases.
In the pure form, the surgeon or group “owns” their time blocks. None of those time blocks can be released. “Modified block scheduling” is modified into two ways to increase its flexibility. Either some time is blocked and some is left open, or unused block time is released at an agreed-upon time before surgery, for instance 72 hours. Implementation of different types of operating theatre scheduling is based on the complexities of the real situation in the hospitals.
There are several techniques that have been used by past researchers in order to achieve their objectives and reduce the constraints such as linear programming , heuristic algorithm, hybrid genetic algorithm and mixed integer linear programming.