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Minimizing the maximal ergonomic burden in intra-hospital patient transportation

Alexander Fröhlich von Elmbach, Armin Scholl and Rico Walter

European Journal of Operational Research, 2019, vol. 276, issue 3, 840-854

Abstract: The transportation of patients within a hospital concerns three main groups. Firstly, the hospital managers, who must ensure an efficient transport system with sufficient porters so that delays of surgeries or examinations are (mostly) avoided. Secondly, the patients, for whom waiting times before and after appointments should not be too long. And thirdly, the porters, who carry out the physical transport of patients within the hospital. This last group faces high physical liability as well as risks of illnesses and injuries due to work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Despite these facts, the porters’ interests are often neglected in current research. This paper integrates the needs of all three aforementioned groups into a mathematical model, which is solved with the help of a tailored tabu search algorithm. Computational experiments reveal that the new procedure is able to find high-quality solutions in a very short time. Most often, the obtained solutions are even optimal. They also significantly improve upon those generated by a typical real-world planning approach. Furthermore, the trade-off between the interests of all three groups is analyzed.

Keywords: Scheduling; Health care; In-house transportation; Ergonomics; Tabu Search (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:276:y:2019:i:3:p:840-854