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South African Journal of Industrial Engineering

On-line version ISSN 2224-7890
Print version ISSN 1012-277X


ALABDULKARIM, A.A.. Improving the operations performance of a chemotherapy clinic: A two-phase approach. S. Afr. J. Ind. Eng. [online]. 2018, vol.29, n.4, pp.45-52. ISSN 2224-7890.

The increasing number of cancer patients, coupled with the development and use of new, efficient medications, has increased the demand for cancer service care. Outpatient chemotherapy clinics (OCCs) are complex facilities, due to the large variability in treatment durations resulting from different cancer types and chemotherapy protocols under limited resources. In this paper we address the operations planning problem encountered by OCCs, of optimally assigning the first days of treatment for a set of new patients in tandem with the presence of existing patients. We propose a two-phase approach to optimise the start days of a set of new patients. In the first stage, a system dynamics (SD) simulation model, adapted from the literature, is used to find the critical days for the new patients - i.e., the upper bounds by which patients must begin treatment. The optimal start days are then determined using a new mixed-integer programming (MIP) model. The results show that the optimal start days can be effectively prioritised and evaluated using simulation and mathematical programming.

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