As tradition holds, Major League Baseball’s 2016 Opening Day was celebrated during the first week of April, but leading up to that ceremonious day were many months of work put into building the season’s schedule. Just one MLB season is made up of 2,340 games involving more than 1,200 players and 75 million fans pouring into stadiums across the country. As strange as it may sound, aligning all of the many complex variables into a workable MLB schedule each season is strikingly similar to the challenge hospital operations leaders face in scheduling physicians; however, for hospital operations leaders, the job is even more of a challenge. As Suvas Vajracharya, founder and CEO of Lightning Bolt Solutions, explained in a recent article featured in HIStalk:
In just 10 seasons, it’s possible to generate more baseball schedule options than there are atoms in the universe. Yet a full season of baseball scheduling is still far less complicated than just a single month of scheduling for 24/7 coverage shifts in a hospital emergency department. There’s good reason hospital operations teams are stressed about scheduling. Trying to do this manually with paper or a spreadsheet is an exercise in pure masochism.
Many hospital operations leaders today can relate to Harry Simmons, who was in charge of MLB scheduling prior to 1981 and made a full-time job out of the overwhelmingly time-consuming task of building and managing each season’s schedule manually. But as Suvas points out, there are also lessons hospital operations teams can take from the history of MLB scheduling.
You can find Suvas’ full insight, as well as scheduling best practices inspired by MLB’s now automated approach, in “Who’s On First? Baseball’s Lessons for Hospital Shift Scheduling.”