Organizing multidisciplinary care for children with neuromuscular diseases at the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam: CASE STUDY

Nikky Kortbeek, M.F. van der Velde, N. Litvak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
114 Downloads (Pure)


The Academic Medical Center (AMC) in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, recently opened the ‘Children’s Muscle Center Amsterdam’ (CMCA). The CMCA diagnoses and treats children with neuromuscular diseases. The patients with such diseases require care from a variety of clinicians. Through the establishment of the CMCA, children and their parents will generally visit the hospital only once a year, while previously they used to visit on average six times a year. This is a major improvement, because the hospital visits are both physically and psychologically demanding for the patients. This paper describes how quantitative modelling supports the design and operations of the CMCA. First, an integer linear program is presented that selects which patients are to be invited for a treatment day and schedules the required combination of consultations, examinations and treatments on one day. Second, the integer linear program is used as input to a simulation study to estimate the capacity of the CMCA, expressed in terms of the distribution of the number patients that can be seen on one diagnosis day. Finally, a queueing model is formulated to predict the access time distributions based upon the simulation outcomes under various demand scenarios. Its contribution on the case under study is twofold. First, we design highly constrained appointment schedules for multiple patients that require service from multiple disciplines’ resources. Second, we study the effect of the trade-offs between scheduling constraints and access times. As such, the contribution of this case study paper is that it illustrates the value of applying Operations Research techniques in complex healthcare settings, by designing context-specific combinations of mathematical models, thereby improving delivery of the highly-constrained multidisciplinary care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-225
Number of pages17
JournalHealth systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2017


  • Healthcare management
  • Patient flow
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Queueing systems
  • Integer linear programming


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