Hospitals have been challenged in recent years to deliver high quality care with limited resources. Given the pressure to contain costs,developing procedures for optimal resource allocation becomes more and more critical in this context. Indeed, under/overutilization of emergency room and ward resources can either compromise a hospital's ability to provide the best possible care, or result in precious funding going toward underutilized resources. Simulation--based optimization tools then help facilitating the planning and management of hospital services, by maximizing/minimizing some specific indices (e.g. net profit) subject to given clinical and economical constraints. In this work, we develop a simulation--based optimization approach for the resource planning of a specific hospital ward. At each step, we first consider a suitably chosen resource setting and evaluate both efficiency and satisfaction of the restrictions by means of a discrete--event simulation model. Then, taking into account the information obtained by the simulation process, we use a derivative--free optimization algorithm to modify the given setting. We report results for a real--world problem coming from the obstetrics ward of an Italian hospital showing both the effectiveness and the efficiency of the proposed approach.
2016, OPTIMIZATION LETTERS, Pages 219-235 (volume: 10)
A derivative-free approach for a simulation-based optimization problem in healthcare (01a Articolo in rivista)
Lucidi Stefano, Maurici Massimo, Paulon Luca, Rinaldi Francesco, Roma Massimo
Gruppo di ricerca: Continuous Optimization