Health Care Management Science

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 286–302 | Cite as

Strategic level proton therapy patient admission planning: a Markov decision process modeling approach



A relatively new consideration in proton therapy planning is the requirement that the mix of patients treated from different categories satisfy desired mix percentages. Deviations from these percentages and their impacts on operational capabilities are of particular interest to healthcare planners. In this study, we investigate intelligent ways of admitting patients to a proton therapy facility that maximize the total expected number of treatment sessions (fractions) delivered to patients in a planning period with stochastic patient arrivals and penalize the deviation from the patient mix restrictions. We propose a Markov Decision Process (MDP) model that provides very useful insights in determining the best patient admission policies in the case of an unexpected opening in the facility (i.e., no-shows, appointment cancellations, etc.). In order to overcome the curse of dimensionality for larger and more realistic instances, we propose an aggregate MDP model that is able to approximate optimal patient admission policies using the worded weight aggregation technique. Our models are applicable to healthcare treatment facilities throughout the United States, but are motivated by collaboration with the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute (UFPTI).


Patient admission policy Proton therapy Markov decision process State aggregation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department Tagliatela College of EngineeringUniversity of New HavenWest HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Industrial EngineeringUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA

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