Which algorithm for scheduling add-on elective cases maximizes operating room utilization?: Use of bin packing algorithms and fuzzy constraints in operating room management
Dexter, F. M., Alex; Traub, Rodney D. (1999). Which Algorithm for Scheduling Add-on Elective Cases Maximizes Operating Room Utilization?: Use of Bin Packing Algorithms and Fuzzy Constraints in Operating Room Management. [Journal Article]. Anesthesia and Analgesia, 91(5), 1491.
Background: The algorithm to schedule add-on elective cases that maximizes operating room (OR) suite utilization is unknown. The goal of this study was to use computer simulation to evaluate 10 scheduling algorithms described in the management sciences literature to determine their relative performance at scheduling as many hours of add-on elective cases as possible into open OR time. Methods: From a surgical services information system for two separate surgical suites, the authors collected these data: (1) hours of open OR time available for add-on cases in each OR each day and (2) duration of each add-on case. These empirical data were used in computer simulations of case scheduling to compare algorithms appropriate for "variable-sized bin packing with bounded space." "Variable size" refers to differing amounts of open time in each "bin," or OR. The end point of the simulations was OR utilization (time an OR was used divided by the time the OR was available). Results: Each day there were 0.24 +/- 0.11 and 0.28 +/- 0.23 simulated cases (mean +/- SD) scheduled to each OR in each of the two surgical suites. The algorithm that maximized OR utilization, Best Fit Descending with fuzzy constraints, achieved OR utilizations 4% larger than the algorithm with poorest performance. Conclusions: We identified the algorithm for scheduling add-on elective cases that maximizes OR utilization for surgical suites that usually have zero or one add-on elective case in each OR. The ease of implementation of the algorithm, either manually or in an OR information system, needs to be studied. (C) 1999 American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc.