What is it about?

Nuclear medicine, a subspecialty of radiology, plays an important role in proper diagnosis and timely treatment. Multiple resources, especially short-lived radiopharmaceuticals involved in the process of nuclear medical examination, constitute a unique problem in appointment scheduling. Aiming at achieving scientific and reasonable appointment scheduling in the West China Hospital (WCH), a typical class A tertiary hospital in China, we developed an online appointment scheduling algorithm based on an offline nonlinear integer programming model which considers multiresources allocation, the time window constraints imposed by short-lived radiopharmaceuticals, and the stochastic nature of the patient requests when scheduling patients. A series of experiments are conducted to show the effectiveness of the proposed strategy based on data provided by the WCH. The results show that the examination amount increases by 29.76% compared with the current one with a significant increase in the resource utilization and timely rate. Besides, it also has a high stability for stochastic factors and bears the advantage of convenient and economic operation.

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Why is it important?

The characteristics of multiresources constraints and specific time window in nuclear medicine constitute a unique problem with very limited research reported in the literature. Moreover, there is hardly any research in radiology appointment scheduling applying online algorithms considering patient's demand and arrival distribution. For this reason, this paper not only has guiding significance for nuclear medical departments in practice, but also is a supplement to the theory.


Although the study and the related results are based on the nuclear medicine department, the online appointment scheduling system can play a reference and instructive role for the other radiology departments.

shuzhen zhao

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Online Appointment Scheduling for a Nuclear Medicine Department in a Chinese Hospital, Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine, January 2018, Hindawi Publishing Corporation,
DOI: 10.1155/2018/5148215.
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