Microcomputer-based workforce scheduling for hospital porters.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)22_Publication in policy or professional journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-262
Journal / PublicationJournal of Management in Medicine
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 1999


This paper focuses on labour scheduling for hospital porters who are the major workforce providing routine cleansing of wards, transportation and messenger services. Generating an equitable monthly roster for porters while meeting the daily minimum demand is a tedious task scheduled manually by a supervisor. In considering a variety of constraints and goals, a manual schedule was usually produced in seven to ten days. To be in line with the strategic goal of scientific management of an acute care regional hospital in Hong Kong, a microcomputer-based algorithm was developed to schedule the monthly roster. The algorithm, coded in Digital Visual Fortran 5.0 Professional, could generate a monthly roster in seconds. Implementation has been carried out since September 1998 and the results proved to be useful to hospital administrators and porters. This paper discusses both the technical and human issues involved during the computerization process.