Planning and scheduling of semi-urgent surgeries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)
119 Downloads (Pure)


This paper investigates the trade-off between cancellations of elective surgeries due to semi-urgent surgeries, and unused operating room (OR) time due to excessive reservation of OR time for semi-urgent surgeries. Semi-urgent surgeries, to be performed soon but not necessarily today, pose an uncertain demand on available hospital resources, and interfere with the planning of elective patients. For a highly utilized OR, reservation of OR time for semi-urgent surgeries avoids excessive cancellations of elective surgeries, but may also result in unused OR time, since arrivals of semiurgent patients are unpredictable. First, using a queuing theory framework, we evaluate the OR capacity needed to accommodate every incoming semi-urgent surgery. Second, we introduce another queuing model that enables a trade-off between the cancelation rate of eective surgeries and unused OR time. Third, based on Markov decision theory, we develop a decision support tool that assists the scheduling process of elective and semi-urgent surgeries. We demonstrate our results with actual data obtained from a department of neurosurgery.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)256-267
Number of pages12
JournalHealth care management science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • EWI-18268
  • MSC-60J20
  • MSC-60K25
  • Emergency patient flow
  • Markov Decision Processes
  • Surgical Scheduling
  • Operating Rooms
  • METIS-270966
  • IR-72523
  • Queueing Theory

Cite this