Applying Scenario Reduction Heuristics in Stochastic Programming for Phlebotomist Scheduling
Laboratory services in healthcare play a vital role in inpatient care. Studies have indicated laboratory data affect approximately 65% of the most critical decisions on admission, discharge, and medication. This research focuses on improving phlebotomist performance in laboratory facilities of large hospital systems. A two-stage stochastic integer linear programming (SILP) model is formulated to determine better weekly phlebotomist schedules and blood collection assignments. The objective of the two-stage SILP model is to balance the workload of the phlebotomists within and between shifts, as reducing workload imbalance will result in improved patient care. Due to the size of the two-stage SILP model, a scenario reduction model has been proposed as a solution approach. The scenario reduction heuristic is formulated as a linear programming model and the results indicate the scenarios with the largest likelihood of occurrence. These selected scenarios will be tested in the two-stage SILP model to determine weekly scheduling policies and blood draw assignments that will balance phlebotomist workload and improve overall performance.
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