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Title: An Intelligent Decision Support System for the Operating Theater: A Case Study
Authors: Fabrício Sperandio
José Luís Borges
António Carvalho Brito
Bernardo Almada-Lobo
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: From long to short term planning, decision processes inherent to operating theater organization are often subject of empiricism, leading to far from optimal results. Waiting lists for surgery have always been a societal problem, which governments have been fighting with different management and operational stimulus plans. The current hospital information systems available in Portuguese public hospitals, lack a decision support system component that could help achieve better planning solutions. Thus, an intelligent decision support system has been developed, allowing the centralization and standardization of planning processes, improving the efficiency of the operating theater and tackling the waiting lists for surgery fragile situation. The intelligence of the system derives from data mining and optimization techniques, which enhance surgery duration predictions and operating rooms surgery schedules. Experimental results show significant gains, reducing overtime, undertime, and better resource utilization. Note to Practitioners-The Operating Theater (OT) is often considered hospitals' biggest budget consumer and revenue center in a hospital. This paper was motivated by a project that aims to reduce expenses and surgery waiting lists in Portuguese public hospitals, by developing an Intelligent Decision Support System (DSS) to support surgery scheduling. Prior to this research, decision makers (Surgeons, Department managers, Operating theatre managers) used their experience to make allocation, scheduling and estimation decisions. Since many of these decisions are made without analyzing past results, mistakes occur frequently, affecting the OT performance. With the help of business intelligence, data mining and optimization algorithms, surgeons' estimations can be more precise and the operating room schedule can be optimized. Preliminary experiments on the usage of DSS reveal a remarkable increase of the efficiency of the whole OT. In future research, we will extend the DSS and the techniques used to address the tactical master surgery scheduling problem, which aims to perform a better allocation of the different specialties to the operating rooms along the week. In addition, upstream and downstream resources shall be considered in the optimization module, as well as a simulation component to better evaluate generated solutions.
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