Operating Room Scheduling Problems: A Survey and a Proposed Solution Framework

  • Zakaria Abdelrasol
  • Nermine Harraz
  • Amr Eltawil
Conference paper


Healthcare is becoming one of the fast growing industries in both, the developed and developing countries. Operating rooms provide a large portion of hospital revenue; hence, scheduling operation room surgeries is very important to maximize profits. This paper reviews the three operating room scheduling problems: the case mix problem, the master surgery scheduling problem and the surgery scheduling problem. Also, the paper introduces a research framework for an integrated planning method for the three problems.


Case-mix Healthcare management Literature survey Master surgery scheduling Operating room scheduling Operations research Simulation Surgery scheduling 



This research project is sponsored by the Egyptian ministry of higher education grant and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in the scope of the Egypt Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST).


  1. 1.
    Z. Abdelrasol, N. Harraz, A. Eltawil, A proposed solution framework for the operatingroom scheduling problems, in Lecture Notes in Engineering and Computer Science: Proceedings of The World Congress on Engineering and Computer Science 2013 (WCECS 2013), San Francisco, USA, pp. 1149–1157 (2013)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    I. Adan, J. Bekkers, N. Dellaert, J. Vissers, X. Yu, Patient mix optimisation and stochasticresource requirements: a case study in cardiothoracic surgery planning. Health Care Manag. Sci. 12, 129–141 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    A. Agnetis, A. Coppi, M. Corsini, G. Dellino, C. Meloni, M. Pranzo, A decomposition approach for the combined master surgical schedule and surgical case assignment problems. Health Care Manag. Sci. (2013). doi: 10.1007/s10729-013-9244-0 MATHGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    J.P. Arnaout, K. Sevag, Maximizing the utilization of operating rooms with stochastictimes using simulation, in Proceedings of the 40th conference on winter simulation, pp. 1617–1623 (2008)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    C. Banditori, P. Cappanera, F. Visintin, A combined optimization–simulation approach to the master surgical scheduling problem. IMA J. Manag. Math. 24, 155–187 (2013)CrossRefMATHMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    J. Beliën, E. Demeulemeester, A branch-and-price approach for integrating nurse and surgery scheduling. Eur. J. Oper. Res. 189, 652–668 (2008)CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    J. Beliën, E. Demeulemeester, Building cyclic master surgery schedules with levelled resulting bed occupancy. Eur. J. Oper. Res. 176, 1185–1204 (2007)CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    J. Beliën, E. Demeulemeester, B. Cardoen, A decision support system for cyclic master surgery scheduling with multiple objectives. J. Sched. 12, 147–161 (2009)CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    R. Bellman, S. Dreyfus, Applied Dynamic Programming (Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1962)MATHGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    J. Blake, F. Dexter, J. Donald, Operating room managers’ use of integer programming for assigning block time to surgical groups: a case study. Anesth. Analg. 94, 143–148 (2002)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    J. Blake, J. Donald, Mount Sinai hospital uses integer programming to allocate operating room time. Interfaces 32, 63–73 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    J.T. Blake, M.W. Carter, A goal programming approach to strategic resource allocation in acute care hospitals. Eur. J. Oper. Res. 140, 541–561 (2002)CrossRefMATHMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    S. Brailsford, J. Vissers, OR in healthcare: a European perspective. Eur. J. Oper. Res. 212, 223–234 (2011)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    B. Cardoen, E. Demeulemeester, J. Beliën, Operating room planning and scheduling: a literature review. Eur. J. Oper. Res. 201, 921–932 (2010)CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    B. Denton, J. Viapiano, A. Vogl, Optimization of surgery sequencing and scheduling decisions under uncertainty. Health Care Manag. Sci. 10, 13–24 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    F. Dexter, A strategy to decide whether to move the last case of the day in an operating room to other empty operating room to decrease overtime labor costs. Anesth. Analg. 91, 925–928 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    F. Dexter, A. Macario, R. Traub, Which algorithm for scheduling add-on elective cases maximizes operating room utilization?: use of bin packing algorithms and fuzzy constraints in operating room management. Anesthesiology 91, 1491–1500 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    H. Fei, C. Chu, N. Meskens, Solving a tactical operating room planning problem by a column-generation based heuristic procedure with four criteria. Ann. Oper. Res. 166, 91–108 (2009)CrossRefMATHMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    H. Fei, N. Meskens, C. Chu, A planning and scheduling problem for an operating theatre using an open scheduling strategy. Comput. Ind. Eng. 58, 221–230 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    R. Gabel, J. Kulli, B.S. Lee, D. Spratt, D. Ward, Operating Room Management (Butterworth-Heinemann, London, 1999)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    F. Guerriero, R. Guido, Operational research in the management of the operating theatre: a survey. Health Care Manag. Sci. 14, 89–114 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    E. Hans, G. Wullink, M.V. Houdenhoven, G. Kazemier, Robust surgery loading. Eur. J. Oper. Res. 185, 1038–1050 (2008)CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    P. Harper, A framework for operational modelling of hospital resources. Health Care Manag. Sci. 5, 165–173 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    R. Harris, Hospital bed requirements planning. Eur. J. Oper. Res. 25, 121–126 (1985)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    M. Holte, C. Mannino, The implementor/adversary algorithm for the cyclic and robust scheduling problem in health-care. Eur. J. Oper. Res. 226, 551–559 (2013)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    M.V. Houdenhoven, J.V. Oostrum, E. Hans, G. Wullink, G. Kazemier, Improving operating room efficiency by applying bin-packing and portfolio techniques to surgical case scheduling. Anesth. Analg. 105, 707–714 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    A. Jebali, A. Hadjalouane, P. Ladet, Operating rooms scheduling. Int. J. Prod. Econ. 99, 52–62 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    P.C. Kuo, R.A. Schroeder, S. Mahaffey, R. Bollinger, Optimization of Operating Room Allocation Using Linear Programming Techniques. The Am. Coll. Surg. 197, 889–895 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    M. Lamiri, X. Xie, A. Dolgui, F. Grimaud, A stochastic model for operating room planning with elective and emergency demand for surgery. Eur. J. Oper. Res. 185, 1026–1037 (2008)CrossRefMATHMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Y. Liu, C. Chu, K. Wang, A new heuristic algorithm for the operating room scheduling problem. Comput. Ind. Eng. 61, 865–871 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    G. Ma, J. Beliën, E. Demeulemeester, L. Wang, Solving the strategic case mix problem optimally by using branch-and-price algorithms, in International Conference on Operational Research Applied to Health Services (ORAHS), vol. 35. Belgium (2009)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    G. Ma, E. Demeulemeester, A multilevel integrative approach to hospital case mix and capacity planning. Comput. Oper. Res. 40, 2198–2207 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    C. Mannino, E. Nilssen, T. Nordlander, A pattern based, robust approach to cyclic master surgery scheduling. J. Sched. 15, 553–563 (2012)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    E. Marcon, F. Dexter, Impact of surgical sequencing on post anesthesia care unit staffing. Health Care Manag. Sci. 9, 87–98 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    I. Moore, D. Strum, L. Vargas, D. Thomson, Observations on surgical demand time series: detection and resolution of holiday variance. Anesthesiology 109, 408–416 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    M.W. Mulholland, P. Abrahamse, V. Bahl, Linear programming to optimize performance in a department of surgery. The Am. Coll. Surg 200, 861–868 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    J.V. Oostrum, M.V. Houdenhoven, J. Hurink, E. Hans, G. Wullink, G. Kazemier, A master surgical scheduling approach for cyclic scheduling in operating room departments. OR Spectrum. 30, 355–374 (2008)CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    P. Patterson, What makes a well-oiled scheduling system. OR Manag. 12, 19–23 (1996)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    A. Sciomachen, E. Tànfani, A. Testi, Simulation Models for optimal schedules of operating theatres. Int. J. Simul. Modell. 6, 26–34 (2005)Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    M.A. Shalaby, T.F. Abdelmaguid, Z.Y. Abdelrasol, New routing rules for dynamic flexible job shop scheduling with sequence-dependent setup times, Proceedings of the 2012 International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management (Istanbul, Turkey, 2012), pp. 747–756Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    A. Testi, E. Tànfani, G. Torre, A three-phase approach for operating theatre schedules. Health Care Manag. Sci. 10, 163–172 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    A. Testi, E. Tànfani, Tactical and operational decisions for operating room planning: efficiency and welfare implications. Health Care Manag. Sci. 12, 363–373 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    B. Vijayakumar, P.J. Parikh, R. Scott, A. Barnes, J. Gallimore, A dual bin-packing approach to scheduling surgical cases at a publicly-funded hospital. Eur. J. Oper. Res. 224, 583–591 (2013)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    J. Vissers, I. Adan, J. Bekkers, Patient mix optimization in cardiothoracic surgery planning: a case study. IMA J. Manag. Math. 16, 281–304 (2005)CrossRefMATHMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    R. Wachtel, F. Dexter, Review of behavioral operations experimental studies of newsvendor problems for operating room management. Anesth. Analg. 110, 1698–1710 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zakaria Abdelrasol
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nermine Harraz
    • 1
    • 3
  • Amr Eltawil
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Industrial Engineering and Systems ManagementEgypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST)AlexandriaEgypt
  2. 2.On leave from Industrial Engineering Department, Faculty of EngineeringFayoum UniversityFayoumEgypt
  3. 3.On leave from the Production Engineering Department, Faculty of EngineeringAlexandria UniversityAlexandriaEgypt

Personalised recommendations