Health Care Management Science

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 303-320

A hybrid approach for integrated healthcare cooperative purchasing and supply chain configuration

  • Nazaré RegoAffiliated withINESC TEC (formerly INESC Porto)/Escola de Economia e Gestão, Universidade do Minho Email author 
  • , João ClaroAffiliated withINESC TEC (formerly INESC Porto) and Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto
  • , Jorge Pinho de SousaAffiliated withINESC TEC (formerly INESC Porto) and Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto

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This paper presents an innovative and flexible approach for recommending the number, size and composition of purchasing groups, for a set of hospitals willing to cooperate, while minimising their shared supply chain costs. This approach makes the financial impact of the various cooperation alternatives transparent to the group and the individual participants, opening way to a negotiation process concerning the allocation of the cooperation costs and gains. The approach was developed around a hybrid Variable Neighbourhood Search (VNS)/Tabu Search metaheuristic, resulting in a flexible tool that can be applied to purchasing groups with different characteristics, namely different operative and market circumstances, and to supply chains with different topologies and atypical cost characteristics. Preliminary computational results show the potential of the approach in solving a broad range of problems.


Purchasing groups Healthcare Tabu Search VNS