Single-entry waitlist surgical scheduling

The research is performed in collaboration the University Health Network (UHN). To improve utilization of resources required in operating room scheduling, e.g., operating room time, surgeon availability, downstream beds (ICU, ward, etc.), hospitals can collaborate in a strategic network to pool resources. This network results in a single-entry waitlist for surgery patients, where patients enter the waitlist and get assigned to a surgeon at a participating hospital.

The resulting scheduling problem is a large and complex optimization, which we solve through novel decomposition techniques. Our findings demonstrate that resources across all participating hospitals are better utilized with a single-entry waitlist, and we use game theory concepts to show that each hospital better achieves its own goals of maximizing surgeries and minimizing wait times by participating in the network. We additionally find that a year’s worth of surgeries can be completed in just 9-10 months, freeing up operating rooms for targeted waitlist reductions.

We additionally examine single-entry waitlists at a provincial level, using simulation and simple routing rules, to understand the efficiency that can be gained by widespread adoption of single-entry waitlists, and to understand what percent of surgical patients should opt-in to a centralized waitlist to realize those efficiencies.