Journal of Combinatorial Optimization

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 196–220 | Cite as

Real-time scheduling optimization considering the unexpected events in home health care

  • Gang Du
  • Luyao Zheng
  • Xiaoling OuyangEmail author


Home health care, a new kind of health services that can be given in home for special populations (elderly, disabled, youth, etc.), is usually less expensive, more convenient and more efficient. Based on the face-to-face (in-person) interviews, we find that scheduling arrangements of home health care are often affected by some unexpected events such as cancellation of services, demand for emergency care and medical device failures. These events may lead to medical scheduling conflicts and therefore might decrease patient satisfaction due to the delayed service. Considering the emergencies in the home health care, this study takes the home health care mode under the unexpected events as the research object and focuses on the time window constraints involved in the real-time scheduling problem. In order to obtain an optimal medical dispatch program and ensure patients’ golden period for treatment, we establish an effective real-time scheduling model to minimize the total required time of scheduling, and propose an improved memetic algorithm to optimize the model. Empirical analysis was then adopted to verify the rationality of the model. Finally, we analyze the practical effect of dispatching decision and put forward the recommendations for future research directions.


Home health care Unexpected events Real-time scheduling Improved memetic algorithm 



This paper is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Funding Nos. 71472065, 71772065), Social Sciences Research supported by Ministry of Education of China (Funding Nos. 14YJC630026, 16YJC790078), Key projects of Shanghai soft science Research Program (17692107000), Social Sciences Research supported by Shanghai Planning Office of Philosophy and Social Science (Funding No. 2016EJB003),Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2017ECNU-HWFW035) and Shanghai Pujiang Program (14PJC027).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Business and Administration, Faculty of Economics and ManagementEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Economics, School of Economics, Faculty of Economics and ManagementEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina

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