AI Success Stories

HA Logo HA: Nurse Rostering

hk hospital authority - nurse rostering

Project Summary:

  • client: Hong Kong Hospital Authority
  • application: nurse rostering
  • AI technology:  constraint programming


Rostering technology provided by CityU helps the Hong Kong Hospital Authority provide quality service efficiently and effectively. By encoding knowledge of ward operations and hospital regulations as business rules and constraints, our AI Rostering Engine automatically produces monthly or weekly staff rosters using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and constraint programming technologies.

"Dr. Chun and his team's knowledge and expertise in designing and developing scheduling systems have been instrumental to the success of the Hospital Authority's Staff Rostering System."

Michael Fung, Senior Systems Manager, Hospital Authority

Our Client

Hong Kong's Hospital Authority (HA) was established in December 1990 to manage all the public hospitals in Hong Kong. It is responsible for delivering quality medical services to the general public of Hong Kong through its network of health care facilities.

Business Needs

The Hospital Authority manages over 40 hospitals with close to 700 wards altogether. With over 40,000 staff working in shifts, the amount of time and personnel needed to produce a roster for each ward is tremendous. Previously, staff rosters were mainly generated manually without computer support. The lack of computer records made it impossible to produce management reports and statistics to keep track of personnel productivity.

Constraints and rules governing hospital staffs are very unique to Hong Kong and a tailor-made solution was needed. In 1997, the Hospital Authority selected our team to design and develop the crucial rostering component for HA's Staff Roster System

AI Technology

Our proprietary AI Rostering Engine uses advanced optimization algorithms combined with constraint programming techniques to automatically produces weekly and monthly rosters within minutes. The rosters were produced based on complex domain knowledge of how public hospitals in Hong Kong operate. This include hospital, departmental, and ward-specific rules and constraints; staff requests and preferences; as well as historical information. The AI Rostering Engine was implemented totally in C++ for maximum performance.

Business Benefits

Our AI Rostering Engine has been in continuous daily use in some of the largest hospitals in Hong Kong since 1998. Through the use of our technology, HA has obtained numerous business benefits:

  • Increased Productivity - Ward managers can now focus on more challenging management issues rather than rostering.
  • Increased Morale - Automatically generated rosters are guaranteed to be "fair" by considering historical data.
  • Improved Quality of Service - Intelligent rostering ensures well-balanced set of skills for required daily workload
  • Facilitate Quality Management - MIS reports on workload and resource utilization gives management better grasp of performances.


  • 2000 Innovative Applications of AI Award
    The American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) awarded our AI Rostering Engine with a "2000 Innovative Applications of AI Award," in the category of "Deployed Applications." This is a prestigious international award, given to only a few companies each year.

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