Optimal multiple-period scheduling and sequencing of operating room and intensive care unit

Abbas Al-Refaie*, Mays Judeh, Tin-Chih Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Operating rooms (ORs), one of the most crucial hospital resources that generate among the highest costs, are prone to bottlenecking. This paper, therefore, proposes optimization models for multiple-period scheduling of patients in ORs and intensive care units (ICUs) as well as for sequencing of patients in the operating theatre. The first model considers scheduling at a minimal total cost, comprising hospitalization, undertime, overtime, and cancelation costs. The second model involves ICU scheduling and patient sequencing in the operating theatre at a minimal total overtime cost. The scheduling and sequencing models were implemented at a hospital that offers comprehensive surgical procedures for all surgical specialties. The research results are expected to improve patient satisfaction and resource efficiency as well as reduce hospital expenses by minimizing overtime, undertime, hospitalization costs, and cancelation costs. These optimization models may provide substantial assistance to decision makers and planners in facilitating coordination among available hospital resources, including ORs, surgeons, and patients, thereby increasing the productivity and efficiency of ORs and ICUs in providing high-quality care. Future research should consider OR scheduling for unexpected events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-670
Number of pages26
JournalOperational Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Multiple periods
  • Operating room
  • Optimization
  • Scheduling
  • Sequencing

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