A decision support tool for the urgent surgeries assignment problem

  • Afef Bouguerra LGIPM - Université de Lorraine
  • Christophe Sauvey LGIPM - Université de Lorraine
  • Nathalie Sauer LGIPM - Université de Lorraine
Keywords: Operating rooms scheduling, online scheduling, non-elective surgeries assignment, decision support tool, operating theater


Purpose - In this paper, non-elective patients are assigned in an already existing operating block schedule, both respecting health and cost-efficiency objectives.

Design / methodology / approach - We designed and developed assignment strategies, in function of three patient classes: emergent, urgent and work in case. The global objectives are both the assignment of the maximal amount of non-elective cases and global operating block overtime cost-efficiency.

Findings – The developed strategies have been tested and validated with a 4 operating rooms block, with 5 specialties, with a 7 hours regular opening time, 2 hours allowed overtime, on a 5 days planning horizon. Results show an improvement on both operating rooms capacity filling and supplementary hours overruns limitation.

Research implications – Strategies are independent on the benchmark test values. They are adapted to 3 patient classes, and on the objectives aimed for each class.

Practical implications – The decision support tool have been developed with and validated by a west European hospital surgical team. The strategies can be adopted by any other comparable hospital block.

Social implications – Developing the here presented strategies in developed countries hospitals could help them to limit their health care budget overruns.

Originality / value - Scientific results obtained are twofold. Firstly, all proposed strategies have been validated and show effectiveness and relevancy for the addressed problem, in real time conditions. Secondly, the tool also assesses, for a given operating block, with a given provisional schedule, the number of non-elective surgeries that can be accommodated.


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Industrial Engineering