The Corona crisis has been a wake-up call to us all that
optimizing the logistics of health care processes can make the
difference between life and death. Luckily, radiotherapy treatments
for cancer care is not on a crisis management, but optimizing
logistics can still make a huge difference to patients. In his PhD
Vieira, from the Netherlands Cancer Institute, shows how the
logistics of radiotherapy treatments can be optimized in such a way
that cancer patients benefit from shorter waiting times and more
patient-friendly treatments. Good luck, Bruno!
Logistical Optimization of Radiotherapy Treatments.
Prof. dr. Wim van Harten (NKI and University of Twente) and prof. dr.
ir. Erwin Hans (University of Twente). Co-promotor: dr.
Jeroen van de Kamer (NKI).
Thesis defense (online): University of Twente, 26 June, 14.45 h.
The defense will be live-streamed via https://vimeo.com/event/107744/
How to integrate patient preferences in scheduling
Delays in the start of radiotherapy treatment (RT) have been
shown to increase the risk of tumour progression in various cancer
types. Moreover, patients experience greater psychological distress
when subject to longer waiting times. For RT centers, efficient
management of patients and resources has become extremely
difficult due to such factors as a highly fluctuating
patient inflow, specialized care pathways, and the multitude
of skills possessed by staff members. How to optimally
allocate staff members to the several tasks involved
in radiotherapy? And how to integrate patient preferences into
the scheduling routines?
Mathematical programming and industrial
Bruno Vieira looked at these logistical problems and proposed
innovative approaches for solving them by combining knowledge
from applied mathematics and industrial engineering. He shows, for
instance, that through an optimal allocation of radiation therapy
technologists, fulfillment of waiting time targets can be increased
from 91% to 98% for urgent patients, and from 96% to 100% for
regular patients. He also shows that up to 98% of the patients can
have their preferences regarding the time of their irradiation
sessions satisfied when treatment schedules are optimized using
Project with six Dutch RT centres
Five years ago, Bruno Vieira, an experienced researcher seeking
a PhD in Operations Research with practical applications to
healthcare, moved from Porto to Amsterdam to conduct his PhD
research in the Wim van Harten group at the Netherlands Cancer
Institute. He conducted a 5-year project on radiotherapy logistics
in collaboration with 6 Dutch RT centers. After his PhD, Bruno will
move to Barcelona to work as a postdoc at the Universitat Pompeu
Fabra on the optimization of home care services for
elderly people. 'I intend to make use of the knowledge and
skills obtained during my PhD trajectory to improve the home and
social care services for elderly people through innovative
Bruno's research was financed out of a Dutch Cancer Society
Grant (KWF 2014-6078).