Journal of the Operational Research Society

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 410–425 | Cite as

Master physician scheduling problem

  • A Gunawan
  • H C Lau
General Paper


We study a real-world problem arising from the operations of a hospital service provider, which we term the master physician scheduling problem. It is a planning problem of assigning physicians’ full range of day-to-day duties (including surgery, clinics, scopes, calls, administration) to the defined time slots/shifts over a time horizon, incorporating a large number of constraints and complex physician preferences. The goals are to satisfy as many physicians’ preferences and duty requirements as possible while ensuring optimum usage of available resources. We propose mathematical programming models that represent different variants of this problem. The models were tested on a real case from the Surgery Department of a local government hospital, as well as on randomly generated problem instances. The computational results are reported together with analysis on the optimal solutions obtained. For large-scale instances that could not be solved by the exact method, we propose a heuristic algorithm to generate good solutions.


scheduling optimization health service master physician scheduling and rostering problem mathematical programming preferences 



We thank the Department of Surgery, Tan Tock Seng Hospital (Singapore) for providing valuable comments and test situations.


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Copyright information

© Operational Research Society 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Information Systems, Singapore Management UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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