Generating balanced workload allocations in hospitals

As pressure on healthcare systems continues to increase, it is becoming more and more important for hospitals to properly manage the high workload levels of their staff. Ensuring a balanced workload allocation between various groups of employees in a hospital has been shown to contribute considerably towards creating sustainable working conditions. However, allocating work to different organizational units in a fair manner is not straightforward when it involves complex decision-making processes. In this paper we set out to balance the workload of heterogeneous hospital wards by optimizing the patient admission scheduling problem. Given the multi-period nature of patient admission scheduling, we introduce, a new equity objective that captures both spatial (between hospital wards) and temporal (between days in the planning period) workload balancing. The resulting bi-objective problem is solved using an exact criterion space search algorithm. Our computational study employs problem instances that have been generated based on real-world data. The results demonstrate how spatially and temporally balanced workload allocations can be generated by minimizing the proposed equity objective. Moreover, we analyze sets of non-dominated solutions to gain various insights into the trade-off between schedule cost and workload balance.



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