We consider the problem of balancing two competing objectives in the pursuit of efﬁcient management of operating rooms in a hospital: providing surgeons with predictable, reliable access to the operating room and maintaining high utilization of capacity. The common solution to the ﬁrst problem (in practice) is to grant exclusive “block time,” in which a portion of the week in an operating room is designated to a particular surgeon, barring other surgeons from using this room/time. As a major improvement over this existing approach, we model the possibility of “shared” block time, which need only satisfy capacity constraints in expectation. We reduce the computational difﬁculty of the resulting NP-hard block-scheduling problem by implementing a column-generation approach and demonstrate the efﬁcacy of this technique using simulation, calibrated to a real hospital’s historical data and objectives. Our simulations illustrate substantial beneﬁts to hospitals under a variety of circumstances and demonstrate the advantages of our new approach relative to a benchmark method taken from the recent literature.
Copyright © 2012 INFORMS. This article first appeared in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management 14, no. 4 (June 27, 2012): 567-83. doi:10.1287/msom.1110.0372.
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Day, Robert, Robert Garfinkel, and Steven Thompson. "Integrated Block Sharing: A Win–Win Strategy for Hospitals and Surgeons." Manufacturing & Service Operations Management 14, no. 4 (June 27, 2012): 567-83. doi:10.1287/msom.1110.0372.