There is no generally accepted definition of surgical process scheduling available in the literature; nursing researchers, physicians, administrators, and management scientists each view scheduling differently. To overcome this communication problem, a number of authors have proposed conceptual frameworks for surgical process scheduling. These frameworks have unfortunately been either unsatisfactory or incomplete. In this paper, we describe a conceptual framework for surgical process scheduling and use it to classify the existing literature. Results from the review indicate that while operational aspects of advance and allocation scheduling are well understood, further research should be directed towards resolving scheduling issues at strategic and administrative levels. In addition, techniques for integrating operating room (OR) scheduling with other hospital operations are required.
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