Wait times less at Toronto Western thanks to Schulich Prof
Assistant Professor, Operations Management and Information Systems (OMIS)
Wait times are a big complaint from most people when it comes to seeking healthcare. Adam Diamant, Assistant Professor, Operations Management and Information Systems (OMIS) at the Schulich School of Business, is using data modeling to decrease wait times – maximizing patient assessment completion and minimizing vacant appointment slots.
In one of Daimant’s research projects the scheduling practices of a multi-assessment, outpatient, health care program are investigated. The system is modeled as a Markov Decision Process (MDP). The objective is to maximize throughput (patients who complete all assessments) while minimizing the number of vacant appointment slots due to no-shows and the time patients spend in the system. Optimal scheduling actions are obtained and a simulation model is presented to compare the proposed scheduling actions with several ad hoc policies. It is demonstrated that the proposed scheduling policies significantly reduce the time patients spend in the system and the number of unused appointments slots due to no-shows. To further demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed scheduling policies, they are applied to the Bariatric Surgery Program run out of Toronto Western Hospital to improve current operating procedures.