Complexity results for the basic residency scheduling problem
Upon graduation from medical school, medical students join residency programs to complete their clinical training and fulfill specialty board certification requirements. During residency, they are assigned several years of clinical rotations, where they work under the supervision of physician faculty in a variety of different settings, to ensure that they gain the requisite training prior to beginning independent practice. These rotations typically last a short period of time, and the problem of determining a schedule for all the residents in a program can be quite tedious. In this paper, a basic residency scheduling problem that produces a 1-year schedule is defined, and a proof of NP-completeness is presented. Furthermore, a specific model of the residency scheduling program for the internal medicine residency program at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign is studied. Finally, a method for determining alternate optima is presented.
KeywordsMedical School Residency program Alternate optima Schedule perturbation
The authors would like to thank Chaitanya Are, a chief resident at UIUC-COM, and Tracey Johnson, program coordinator, for their valuable input regarding the residency program at the University of Illinois. The authors would additionally like to thank three anonymous referees whose suggestions resulted in a significantly improved version of this paper. The computational results reported were obtained at the Simulation and Optimization Laboratory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. This research has been supported in part by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (FA9550-10-1-0387), the Department of Defense (DoD) through the National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG) Program, and the National Science Foundation through the Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Additionally, the third author was supported in part by (while serving at) the National Science Foundation. Any opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Government.
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