Reduce Patient Treatment wait time in a Proton Beam Facility – A Gatekeeper Approach

Yu Li Huang, Amanda J. Deisher, Michael G. Herman, Jon J. Kruse, Anita Mahajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patient wait time can negatively impact treatment quality in a proton therapy center, where multiple treatment rooms share one proton beam. Wait time increases patient discomfort that can lead to patient motion, dissatisfaction, and longer treatment delay. This study was to develop a patient call-back model that reduced patient wait while efficiently utilizing the proton beam. A “Gatekeeper” logic allowing therapists to adjust the time of a patient’s call-back to the treatment room was developed. It uses a two-pronged approach to minimize overlap of long treatment and the possibility of excessive wait in the queue to receive the proton beam. The goal was to reduce the maximum wait time to less than eight minutes per field for a four-room facility. The effectiveness of this logic was evaluated through simulation, and five scenarios were compared. Four scenarios implementing various levels of gatekeeper logic were compared with the original scenario without the logic. The best performing model provided a reduction of the maximum field wait by 26% and met the predefined goal. Adjusting call-back extended the treatment day length by an average of 6 min and a maximum of 12 min in total. The use of this gatekeeper logic significantly reduces patient field wait with minimal impact on treatment day length for a four-room proton facility. A sample interface that adopts this logic for therapists to make informed decision on patient call-back time is demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number80
JournalJournal of Medical Systems
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Gantry
  • Gatekeeper
  • Patient wait
  • Proton beam
  • Radiation oncology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Information Systems
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Reduce Patient Treatment wait time in a Proton Beam Facility – A Gatekeeper Approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this