Dynamic scheduling with due dates and time windows: An application to chemotherapy patient appointment booking

Gocgun Y., Puterman M. L.

Health Care Management Science, vol.17, no.1, pp.60-76, 2014 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10729-013-9253-z
  • Journal Name: Health Care Management Science
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.60-76
  • Keywords: Chemotherapy scheduling, Markov decision processes, Approximate dynamic programming
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: No


We study a scheduling problem in which arriving patients require appointments at specific future days within a treatment specific time window. This research is motivated by a study of chemotherapy scheduling practices at the British Columbia Cancer Agency (Canada). We formulate this problem as a Markov Decision Process (MDP). Since the resulting MDPs are intractable to exact methods, we employ linear-programming-based Approximate Dynamic Programming (ADP) to obtain approximate solutions. Using simulation, we compare the performance of the resulting ADP policies to practical and easy-to-use heuristic decision rules under diverse scenarios. The results indicate that ADP is promising in several scenarios, and that a specific easy-to-use heuristic performs well in the idealized chemotherapy scheduling setting we study. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.