The development of a surgical scheduler's management game with an adaptive training device

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The Surgical Scheduler's Game is a management game structured within the surgical department of a hospital. It is designed to introduce participants to the scheduling function of the surgical service and is based upon surgical data collected on over 4,000 patients. The participant assumes the position of a surgical scheduler in a 400 bed hospital with five operating rooms. For each operation to be scheduled, the participant receives the name of the surgeon placing the scheduling request, the pre-operative procedure name, the patient's age and the date and time requested. The participant must then schedule the patient. He has available an estimate of the duration of different operations based upon historical records. Other actions required of the participant are to schedule modifications generated through cancellation and rescheduling requests.

At the completion of each game period (one day), the participant receives a performance report. This report includes both a measure of scheduling effectiveness and cost of the service that had been performed. In addition, a comparison is made between the best possible schedule for each day and the schedule developed by the participant.

The financial report includes fixed, variable and overtime operating room costs, surgeon and patient delay costs, rescheduling costs, and income from operations. The game is set within a probabilistic environment and includes an adaptive learning feature which makes the scheduling requirements more difficulty as the participant reaches certain levels of proficiency.