University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business

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Scheduling Surgical Operations and the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit Using Work Tours and Binary Programming

Author(s): Barry King, Alan Leach, Michael Platt, Denise White, PhD

Status: Published
Year: 2017
Publication Name: AIMS International Journal of Management
Volume: 11, Issue: 1, Page Number(s): 9


When surgical patients leave an operating room, they go to the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). The PACU is shared with two or more operating rooms. It has a limited capacity for holding patients. A problem for the operating room scheduler is to schedule operations such that the PACU is not requested to take on more patients than it can handle. The solution is to develop work tours for operating time/PACU time pairs spread throughout the day and employ a binary integer programming formulation that not only obeys the PACU capacity constraint but also handles other scheduling constraints.


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