Managing a patient waiting list with time-dependent priority and adverse events

Daiki Min, Yuehwern Yih

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This paper addresses the problem of managing a waiting list for elective surgery to decide the number of patients selected from the waiting list and to schedule them in accordance with the operating room capacity in the next period. The waiting list prioritizes patients not only by their initial urgency level but also by their waiting time. Selecting elective surgery patients requires a balance between the waiting time for urgent patients and that for less urgent patients. The problem is formulated as an infinite horizon Markov Decision Process. Further, the study proposes a scheduling procedure based on structural properties of an optimal policy by taking a sampling-based finite horizon approximation approach. Finally, we examine the performance of the policy under various conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-74
Number of pages22
JournalRAIRO - Operations Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Adverse events while waiting
  • Markov Decision Process
  • Time-dependent priority
  • Waiting list management


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