A study conducted by CHOIR members Bruno Vieira, Derya Demirtas, and Erwin W. Hans on the radiotherapy treatment process showed that by using operations research, feasible high-quality radiotherapy treatment schedules can be obtained in short time.
An optimization model was adapted to generate radiotherapy treatment schedules in two Dutch centers, and the resulting schedules were compared with the ones manually developed in practice. The weekly schedule was improved in both centers by decreasing the average standard deviation between sessions’ starting times from 103.0 to 50.4 minutes (51%) in one center, and the number of gaps in the schedule from 18 to 5 (72%) in the other. The number of patients requiring linac switching between sessions has also decreased from 71 to 0 patients in one center, and from 43 to 2 in the other. The automated process required 5 minutes and 1.5 hours of computation time to find an optimal weekly patient schedule, respectively, as opposed to approximately 1.5 days when performed manually for both centers.
The full paper is available 'Open access' via the following link: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0247428