INFORMS News - INFORMS Healthcare 2017: Optimizing operations & outcomes

By Edwin Romeijn and Joris van de Klundert

The Markthal (Market Hall) is an example of Rotterdam’s fine architecture. Source: Rotterdam.Branding. Photographer: Ossip van Duivenbode.

Since the first edition in 2011, the biennial INFORMS Healthcare Conference has quickly developed into the global leading conference in its field. This is further underlined by the decision of the INFORMS Health Applications Society to cross the ocean for the fourth edition, which will be held in Rotterdam, Netherlands, on July 26-28.

The Netherlands is widely renowned for its world-class health system that has topped the European Consumer Health Index since 2008. While Rotterdam may be best known for being the world’s largest port for more than four decades (1962-2004), it is presently developing into a modern health and life sciences hot spot. It is already home to an internationally oriented health and life sciences community of almost 70,000 people and 4,000 companies. According to Lonely Planet, “this metropolitan jewel of the Netherlands is riding a wave of urban development, redevelopment and regeneration.” The largest academic hospital in the Netherlands, Erasmus Medical Center, and Erasmus University are also located in Rotterdam.

As a global logistics hub and health and life sciences hot spot, Rotterdam forms a perfect location for the INFORMS Healthcare 2017 conference focused on “optimizing operations & outcomes.” The conference offers a platform for the INFORMS community to make the next step on the path of optimizing health through advancing theory and practice of operations research, management science and analytics. The conference will offer a wide selection of contributions from the United States and Europe (in particular, the Netherlands), as well from developing countries where outcome improvements are needed most. To this purpose, the conference covers areas such as disease and treatment modeling, personalized medicine, medical decision-making, healthcare analytics and machine learning, health information technology and management, health operations management, health and humanitarian systems, disparities in health and global health, and public health and policy-making.

The program will include plenary lectures from leading scientists in the field, including Dimitris Bertsimas of MIT and INFORMS president Brian Denton of the University of Michigan. Other plenary lectures will be delivered by health system leaders such as Dr. Eric de Roodenbeke, president of the International Hospital Federation, who will present his view on how information technology is driving the transformation of hospitals. In addition, Secretary General Erik Gerritsen of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare & Sports will address the Dutch view on health system advancement, with a special emphasis on the role of information technology and big data.  On behalf of the European Commission, Gisele Roesems-Kerremans of the Department for eHealth, Well Being and Aging, will outline European policies and research priorities.

Of course, the conference is primarily a place for the many participants to meet, present and discuss their work. In addition to the poster presentations, there will be more than 100 sessions and 400 talks. Discussions may continue in the open spaces of the downtown conference center De Doelen, the terraces of Rotterdam during lunch, dinner or nightlife, or at the conference reception on a historic paddle-wheel steamer cruising the Port of Rotterdam.

On the day before the conference starts, the conference offers organized visits to Dutch healthcare best practices. For example, it offers site visits to: the newly designed Erasmus Medical Center, the leanest hospital in The Netherlands; Reinier de Graaff Gasthuis in Delft; and the Dutch Healthcare Quality Institute, the hub of the Dutch health data network. For the day after the conference, conference attendees can take advantage of organized sightseeing tours to nearby sites (UNESCO world heritage Kinderdijk, the Delta works) or cities (Amsterdam, Gouda), before some may catch a plane, train or boat to Bath (United Kingdom), where the EURO Working Group on Operational Research Applied to Health Services (ORAHS) will hold its annual meeting starting July 30. This is yet another good reason to join us in optimizing operations and outcomes from July 26-28 in Rotterdam.
We look forward to seeing you!

Edwin Romeijn is the program chair and Joris van de Klundert is the conference chair of INFORMS Healthcare 2017.