Chemotherapy appointment scheduling and daily outpatient–nurse assignment

  • Menel Benzaid
  • Nadia LahrichiEmail author
  • Louis-Martin Rousseau


Chemotherapy planning and patient–nurse assignment problems are complex multiobjective decision problems. Schedulers must make upstream decisions that affect daily operations. To improve productivity, we propose a two-stage procedure to schedule treatments for new patients, to plan nurse requirements, and to assign the daily patient mix to available nurses. We develop a mathematical formulation that uses a waiting list to take advantage of last-minute cancellations. In the first stage, we assign appointments to the new patients at the end of each day, we estimate the daily requirement for nurses, and we generate the waiting list. The second stage assigns patients to nurses while minimizing the number of nurses required. We test the procedure on realistically sized problems to demonstrate the impact on the cost effectiveness of the clinic.


Chemotherapy Outpatients Nurses Appointments Scheduling Daily assignment 


  1. 1.
  2. 2.
    Interview with members of the managerial team at the chemotherapy clinic of Notre-Dame hospital. Personal communication (2016)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Alvarado M, Ntaimo L (2016) Chemotherapy appointment scheduling under uncertainty using mean-risk stochastic integer programming. Health Care Management Science.
  4. 4.
    Berwick DM, Nolan TW, Whittington J (2008) The triple aim: care, health, and cost. Health Aff 27 (3):759–769CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Condotta A, Shakhlevich N (2014) Scheduling patient appointments via multilevel template: a case study in chemotherapy. Oper Res Health Care 3(3):129–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dobish R (2003) Next-day chemotherapy scheduling: a multidisciplinary approach to solving workload issues in a tertiary oncology center. J Oncol Pharm Pract 9(1):37–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Gocgun Y, Puterman ML (2014) Dynamic scheduling with due dates and time windows: an application to chemotherapy patient appointment booking. Health Care Manag Sci 17(1):60–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Green E, Preyra C, Stewart J, McLennan C, Bland R, Dus T, Langhorn M, Beattie K, Cheung A, Hertz S, Sechter H, Burns J, Angus H, Sawka C (2012) . Determining resource intensity weights in ambulatory chemotherapy related to nursing workload 22:114–28Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hahn-Goldberg S, Carter MW, Beck JC (2012) Dynamic template scheduling to address uncertainty in complex scheduling problems: a case study on chemotherapy outpatient scheduling. In: Society for health systems conference. Las VegasGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Lamé G, Jouini O, Stal-Le Cardinal J (2016) Outpatient chemotherapy planning: a literature review with insights from a case study. IIE Trans Healthcare Syst Eng 6(3):127–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Liang B, Turkcan A, Ceyhan ME, Stuart K (2015) Improvement of chemotherapy patient flow and scheduling in an outpatient oncology clinic. Int J Prod Res 53(24):7177–7190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sadki A, Xie X, Chauvin F (2010) Patients assignment for an oncology outpatient unit. In: 2010 IEEE Conference on automation science and engineering (CASE). IEEE, pp 891– 896Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Sadki A, Xie X, Chauvin F (2011) Appointment scheduling of oncology outpatients. In: 2011 IEEE Conference on automation science and engineering (CASE). IEEE, pp 513–518Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Santibáñez P, Aristizabal R, Puterman ML, Chow VS, Huang W, Kollmannsberger C, Nordin T, Runzer N, Tyldesley S (2012) Operations research methods improve chemotherapy patient appointment scheduling. Joint Commission J Qual Patient Safe 38(12):541–553CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Turkcan A, Zeng B, Lawley M (2012) Chemotherapy operations planning and scheduling. IIE Trans Healthcare Syst Eng 2(1): 31–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Van Merode GG, Groothuis S, Schoenmakers M, Boersma HH (2002) Simulation studies and the alignment of interests. Health Care Manag Sci 5(2):97–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Wong Kee Yan N (2017) Chemotherapy outpatient scheduling at the Segal Cancer Center using mixed integer programming models. Ph.D. thesis, Concordia UniversityGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Woodall JC, Gosselin T, Boswell A, Murr M, Denton BT (2013) Improving patient access to chemotherapy treatment at Duke Cancer Institute. Interfaces 43(5):449–461CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ecole Polytechnique de MontréalMontréalCanada

Personalised recommendations