The University of Edinburgh -
Division of Informatics
Forrest Hill & 80 South Bridge

MSc Thesis #9667

Title:The Evolution of an Algorithm to Prioritise Surgical Patients
Date: 1996
Abstract:Currently, the system of prioritising patients waiting for elective surgery uses relatively informal methods and does not seek to make consistent distinctions between "urgent" and "routine" cases. In this study, new prioritisation algorithms using data relating to patients currently waiting for hip or joint replacement surgery at Edinburgh's Princess Margaret Rose Hospital were "evolved" through the techniques of genetic algorithms (GAs) and evolutionary strategies (ESs). In simulation models, the evolved algorithms succeeded in incorporating measures of "urgency" with the amount of time patients had already spent waiting, to order the patients according to "need" while also reducing the overall patient waiting times (as compared to the current situation). Success in simulation, however, does not ensure success in the "real world", where various factors may play significant, but unforeseen, roles in patient prioritisation. Despite this fact, the study results indicate that evolutionary computing may provide a useful tool in the further development of patient prioritisation algorithms.

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