Jonathan Patrick, a Telfer School professor who uses advanced modelling techniques to solve large-scale sequential decision problems in healthcare, has just been awarded a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). His ground-breaking research is focused on capacity planning within a network of community services, with the goal of ensuring timely discharges through the acute care setting as well as scheduling models for entry into health systems.
It has generally been necessary to compartmentalize the health system in order to simplify management challenges into a workable model. This approach fails to take into account the significant complexity involved in patient flow through the hospital environment and the highly dependent nature of the decisions being optimized. The success of approximate dynamic programming (ADP) means that some of that compartmentalization is no longer necessary.
Professor Patrick and his team will build a Markov Decision Process (MDP) models that combine the advanced scheduling and appointment scheduling problems into one model capable of handling multiple resources consumed in sequence. It will be assessed in light of predictions about congestion within a hospital. In the final stage of the work, a capacity planning model for community care services will be designed to maintain proper flow out of acute care.