A hospital has many challenges within itself, in addition to the obvious medical challenges, there is also an intricate logistical management structure necessary for its proper functioning. The hospital logistics area is responsible for all planning, procurement and distribution of supplies within the hospital. A less studied, but extremely important, logistic-hospital problem is the transport of patients within the hospital, that is, intra-hospital transport.
Poorly planned, inefficient transport increases the mileage that patient transporters do and also increases the waiting time for patients, in addition to causing delays in surgeries with possible clinical complications.
One of the most challenging characteristics for intra-hospital transport is the lack of possibility to plan ahead. This is because most calls are made in real time throughout the day, with little or no advance notice.
Another issue that makes planning difficult and is important to be considered is the lack of symmetry in transport, as patients do not go from point A to point B and return by the same route. Some variables may appear, such as the patient being discharged, or being sent to another area of the hospital.
This research project is dedicated to studying algorithms that can help in real-time scheduling of intra-hospital transport. In addition to controlling the movement of patient transporters, the algorithm needs to define which patient should prioritize and which should wait. With the use of metrics it was noticed that the volume of calls follows a certain order. There are two peaks of calls: early morning and early afternoon. This data is important to define the amount of patient transporters that will be needed per day in the hospital.