Next-day operating room scheduling with uncertain surgery durations: Exact analysis and heuristics

TitleNext-day operating room scheduling with uncertain surgery durations: Exact analysis and heuristics
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsKhaniyev, T., E. Kayış, and R. Güllü
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
KeywordsHeuristics, Operating room planning, OR in health services, Scheduling, Stochastic optimization

Operating rooms are units of particular interest in hospitals as they constitute more than 40% of total expenses and revenues. Managing operating rooms is challenging due to conflicting priorities and preferences of various stakeholders and the inherent uncertainty of surgery durations. In this study, we consider the next-day scheduling problem of a hospital operating room. Given the list and the sequence of non-identical surgeries to be performed in the next day, one needs to determine the scheduled durations of surgeries where the actual duration of each surgery is uncertain. Our objective is to minimize the weighted sum of expected patient waiting times, room idle time and overtime. First, we provide a reformulation of the objective function in terms of auxiliary functions with a recursive pattern that enables exact analysis of the optimal surgery durations at the expense of high CPU time. Next, we develop and analyze simple-to-use and close-to-optimal scheduling heuristics motivated by practice, for the OR managers to deploy in the field. Our proposed hybrid heuristic attains 1.22% average performance gap and worst average optimality gap of 2.77%. Our solution is easy to implement as it does not require any advanced optimization tool, which is the reality of many operating room environments.