An elective surgery scheduling problem considering patient priority

Daiki Min, Yuehwern Yih

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


This paper addresses a scheduling problem where patients with different priorities are scheduled for elective surgery in a surgical facility, which has a limited capacity. When the capacity is available, patients with a higher priority are selected from the waiting list and put on the schedule. At the beginning of each period, a decision of the number of patients to be scheduled is made based on the trade-offs between the cost for overtime work and the cost for surgery postponement. A stochastic dynamic programming model is formulated to address this problem. A structural analysis of the proposed model is conducted to understand the properties of an optimal schedule policy. Based on the structural analysis, bounds on feasible actions are incorporated into a value iteration algorithm, and a brief computation experiment shows the improvement in computational efficiency. Numerical examples show that the consideration of patient priority results in significant differences in surgery schedules from the schedule that ignores the patient priority.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1099
Number of pages9
JournalComputers and Operations Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Patient priority
  • Stochastic dynamic programming
  • Surgery scheduling problem


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