Optimal blood issuing by comprehensive matching
Joost van Sambeeck (University of Twente)
Challenges faced by blood transfusion services are becoming more complex and change continuously over time due to the introduction of new technologies and increasing customer expectations.
Challenges faced by blood transfusion services are becoming more complex and change continuously over time due to the introduction of new technologies and increasing customer expectations. One of these expectations is the ability to select comprehensively typed red blood cell units directly from inventory. Currently, all units are issued according to the first-in-first-out principle, irrespective of their specific blood group. This may result in shortages for red blood cell units with a rare blood group. Shortages can be avoided, however, by retaining these units in inventory longer. This, in turn, might lead to increased outdating. Hence, a trade-off between the age and rareness of the red blood cell units in inventory is required.
Due to specific matching restrictions for red blood cell units, traditional (perishable) inventory allocations models cannot be applied. Therefore, a new mathematical model is developed that allows optimization of the allocation of red blood cell units. This model contains three steps: a binary representation of extended blood groups, a transformation into a transportation problem, and finally its description as a minimum cost flow problem. In addition, the concept of 'relative opportunity loss' is introduced to indicate the quality of a match. Finally, a simulation study is conducted to evaluate the long-term performance of the optimization model, using historical data on supply and demand of red blood cell units in the Netherlands.
Computational experiments show that more than 90% of all requests for extended blood groups can be satisfied with an antigen identical red blood cell unit, without introducing excessive shortage or outdating.
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Joost van Sambeeck studied Operations Research and Management Science at Tilburg University. Currently he works as a PhD student at the Dutch blood operator Sanquin and the CHOIR group of the University of Twente, under supervision of Nico van Dijk (University of Twente), Wim de Kort (Sanquin, University of Amsterdam), and Mart Janssen (Sanquin). His research focuses on optimal decision making in relation to extended blood group matching by modelling various processes in the blood transfusion chain.