Healthcare Operations

Chair: Cynthia Kong (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Title: Frequency Determination Policies for Mobile Family Planning Delivery
Speaker: Harwin de Vries (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Abstract: The healthcare facility location literature has traditionally assumed that healthcare facilities are static: they do not move. This talk is about a problem that violates this assumptions and thereby induce a need for new models and methods. We specifically study village visit frequencies for mobile family planning teams in developing countries. Choosing good visit frequencies is far from trivial since the effectiveness of a visit depends on the time since the last visit. We use a large dataset from NGO Marie Stopes International (MSI) to model this relationship, which we subsequently use to study optimal frequencies and develop simple frequency determination policies for practical use. The policies are tested in a simulation model developed based on the same dataset. Our main finding is that, despite the complexity of the frequency optimization problem, simple policies yield near-optimal results. This even holds when little data is available. Results for MSI Uganda shows a potential increase in client numbers of 7 to 10%.

Title: Vaccine supply chain design
Speaker: Nico Vandaele (KU Leuven)

Abstract: The starting point is a human-centered view; in this case a patient/child/population needs to be immunized. Combining the human centeredness with design thinking and system thinking led us to a five step approach, encapsulating the modeling of the problem setting. It is composed of (1) stakeholder analysis and system definition, (2) key performance indicators derivation, (3) modelling and scenario generation, (4) scenario ranking and (5) implementation. This baseline allows for complementary OR techniques and modeling approaches to be deployed. Multiple aspects can be applied to other supply chain design problems.

Title: Logistics Optimization of the Radiotherapy Treatment
Speaker: Bruno Vieira (Antoni van Leeuwenhoek  Hospital)

Abstract: Radiotherapy (RT) is a treatment modality for cancer care that involves the use of expensive resources and multi-disciplinary staff. As the number of cancer patients increases, timely delivery of RT becomes increasingly difficult due to complexities related to, amongst others, variable patient inflow and highly personalized treatment pathways.

In this talk, I will explain common challenges encountered in RT logistics, and how operations research (OR) methods can be applied to solve them. I will briefly show 3 optimization tools developed during my PhD trajectory (5 years), which include a mathematical framework for allocating RTTs to several tasks considering workload variations, and a computer simulation model that mimics the dynamics of the pre-treatment RT process, and a software tool for scheduling RT treatment sessions considering patient preferences.