Purpose: The efficiency of medical staff is a fundamental feature of healthcare facilities quality. Therefore the better implementation of their preferences into the scheduling problem might not only rise the work-life balance of doctors and nurses, but also may result into better patient care. This paper focuses on optimization of medical staff preferences considering the scheduling problem.
Methodology/Approach: We propose a medical staff scheduling algorithm based on simulated annealing, a well-known method from statistical thermodynamics. We define hard constraints, which are linked to legal and working regulations, and minimize the violations of soft constraints, which are related to the quality of work, psychic, and work-life balance of staff.
Findings: On a sample of 60 physicians and nurses from gynecology department we generated monthly schedules and optimized their preferences in terms of soft constraints. Our results indicate that the final value of objective function optimized by proposed algorithm is more than 18-times better in violations of soft constraints than initially generated random schedule that satisfied hard constraints.
Research Limitation/implication: Even though the global optimality of final outcome is not guaranteed, desirable solutionwas obtained in reasonable time.
Originality/Value of paper: We show that designed algorithm is able to successfully generate schedules regarding hard and soft constraints. Moreover, presented method is significantly faster than standard schedule generation and is able to effectively reschedule due to the local neighborhood search characteristics of simulated annealing.
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