2021 journal article
Improving chemotherapy infusion operations through the simulation of scheduling heuristics: a case study
Health Systems, 2, 1–16.
Over the last decade, chemotherapy treatments have dramatically shifted to outpatient services such that nearly 90% of all infusions are now administered outpatient. This shift has challenged oncology clinics to make chemotherapy treatment as widely available as possible while attempting to treat all patients within a fixed period of time. Historical data from a Veterans Affairs chemotherapy clinic in the United States and staff input informed a discrete event simulation model of the clinic. The case study examines the impact of altering the current schedule, where all patients arrive at 8:00 AM, to a schedule that assigns patients to two or three different appointment times based on the expected length of their chemotherapy infusion. The results identify multiple scheduling policies that could be easily implemented with the best solutions reducing both average patient waiting time and average nurse overtime requirements.