Timely and efficient planning of treatments through intelligent scheduling
Aleida Braaksma


Date: 25 September 2015
Time: 14:30
Location: University of Twente, Waaier 4 (Prof.dr. G. Berkhoff room)

When people experience health problems, this often leads to a period of concern and stress. Both for patients’ physical and mental well-being, it is essential that healthcare processes are organized in the best possible way. The thesis aims to support hospitals in realizing excellent quality of patient service, whilst utilizing resources efficiently.

By developing methodologies based on techniques from operations research, also known as mathematical decision theory, the research presented provides decision support for the planning and scheduling of healthcare processes. Three specific challenges are addressed. First, online appointment scheduling, providing patients with prompt responses to their appointment requests. Second, as an alternative, enabling patients to walk in for certain types of diagnostics or treatment without an appointment. And third, integral capacity planning in the inpatient care chain: aligning resource capacities of inpatient wards with the operating room schedule and emergency patient arrivals, and staffing nurses accordingly. All studies in the thesis exemplify how healthcare operations research enables simultaneous improvements in both quality of care and logistical efficiency.

Aleida Braaksma received her M.Sc. degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Twente in 2010, after which she started working as a consultant for process optimization in healthcare in the Academic Medical Center (AMC) in Amsterdam. Since 2011, she is a Ph.D. candidate at the AMC and at the Center for Healthcare Operations Improvement and Research (CHOIR) at the University of Twente. Her research interests are in planning and scheduling in healthcare, focusing on integral improvements for multiple care providers and patient types. In her work, she focusses on combining theoretically strong research with applications in healthcare practice. After completing her Ph.D., Aleida will become a postdoctoral fellow in healthcare operations research, again at the interface between science and practice. She will be appointed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, both in Massachusetts, United States.