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Solving Patient Scheduling Problems through Analytics

Doctor's hand on a keyboard

The need for improved scheduling in outpatient and community settings

Scheduling is a central part of health care services, whether it deals with initial or follow-up visits in an outpatient setting or scheduling regular nurse visits in community care settings. Many variables need to be considered in planning the most effective time-saving and cost-saving approach. Major scheduling challenges lead to long wait-times for millions of patients.  For example, the scheduling of outpatient visits can coincide with the arrival of new patients with competing priorities who need to be factored into the schedule, unavailability of the needed physician to meet medically recommended target times, and many others.

How can the optimal timing and frequency of these visits be ensured? Clearly current scheduling policies will need renewal to deal with issues of increased demand and limited capacity in health care services so that we can offer more patients access to care in a timely manner. Analytics can help health care organizations improve the policies and procedures currently in place that regulate scheduling.

What is the research about?

Professor Jonathan Patrick received a Discovery grant by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council to optimize analytic models for improved scheduling, planning, and decision-making challenges in various health care settings.

Project title: Shared Computing Facility for Optimization and Modeling

Who will gain from this research?

Professor Patrick’s work will help health care organizations improve policies and better manage time and cost allocations by solving complex scheduling and capacity planning problems. Altogether, this work will benefit: 1) the patient by ensuring required services are provided in a timely manner, and 2) the health care system by improving efficiency and reducing cost of services and resources.

Learn more about the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council Discovery Program.


About the Author

Rania Nasrallah a rejoint le bureau de recherche Telfer en 2019. Elle a obtenu son doctorat en médecine à l'Université d'Ottawa et apporte à ce rôle plus de deux décennies d'expérience en recherche. Rania participe à tous les aspects du mandat du Bureau de la recherche et est responsable de fournir un large éventail de services aux membres du corps professoral et aux étudiants de recherche de deuxième et troisième cycle. Elle gère les subventions internes et les bourses d'études, et participe à la stratégie de communication de la recherche. Elle fournit également un soutien aux chercheurs avant l'attribution des subventions afin de maximiser le succès du financement au niveau national et international. En outre, elle travaille en étroite collaboration avec le Vice-doyen à la recherche pour élaborer et mettre en œuvre des stratégies visant à améliorer le financement et la vélocité de la recherche à Telfer, conformément à notre vision pour créer un meilleur Canada et un meilleur monde pour tous.<br/><br/>Rania Nasrallah joined the Telfer Research Office in 2019. She completed her PhD in Medicine at the University of Ottawa and brings over two decades of research experience to this role. Rania is involved in all aspects of the mandate of the Research Office and is responsible for providing a wide range of services to faculty members and research based graduate students. She manages internal grants, student awards, and participates in the research communication strategy. She also provides pre-award support to researchers to optimize funding success nationally and internationally. In addition she works closely with the Vice Dean Research to develop and implement strategies to enhance research funding and intensity at Telfer following our vision to create a better Canada and a better world for all.

Profile Photo of Rania Nasrallah