A patient flow scheduling problem in ophthalmology clinic solved by the hybrid EDA–VNS algorithm

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This paper studies the patient flow scheduling problem in a multi-phase-multi-server system setting for a typical ophthalmology clinic, considering different patient flow processes and specific appointment time. In this problem, patients may go through the following processes, i.e., consultation, examination, re-consultation, and treatment, which form four patient flow paths according to different situations. The objective of this paper is to minimize the completion time of all the patients in the ophthalmology clinic. For solving this problem, we develop a hybrid meta-heuristic algorithm EDA–VNS combining estimation of distribution algorithm (EDA) and variable neighborhood search (VNS). We test the suitability of the approach for the ophthalmology clinic’s problem. Computational results demonstrate that the proposed algorithm is capable of providing high-quality solutions within a reasonable computational time. In addition, the proposed algorithm is also compared with several high-performing algorithms to validate its efficiency. The results indicate the advantages of the proposed EDA–VNS algorithm.

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This work is supported by the Key research and development Projects in Anhui (1804b06020377), the Basic scientific research Projects in central colleges and Universities (JZ2018HGTB0232), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 71601065, 71690235 and 71690230), and Innovative Research Groups of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71521001). This paper is submitted to the special issue (CSoNet2018).

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Correspondence to Wenjuan Fan.

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Fan, W., Wang, Y., Liu, T. et al. A patient flow scheduling problem in ophthalmology clinic solved by the hybrid EDA–VNS algorithm. J Comb Optim 39, 547–580 (2020) doi:10.1007/s10878-019-00497-9

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  • Patient flow scheduling
  • Ophthalmology clinic
  • Appointment system
  • Patient-sequence rules