Demand capacity modelling for outpatients in the HSE South/South West Hospital Group
Increasing wait times for appointments at out-patient clinics affects patient safety, healthcare outcomes and quality of life, and has become a topic of national interest and concern. A number of challenges needed to be addressed as part of this work programme:
The needs of urgent and routine patients have to be considered at the same time to find the right balance of allocating resources
Capacity in a particular specialty may vary from hospital to hospital within a region. Balancing resources and/or reassigning patients can improve overall service levels and hence patience outcomes
Hospitals need tools to understand changing demand and where to invest in improvements
The project team used data analytics to investigate the management of out-patient waiting lists in multiple hospitals within the South/South West Hospital group of the HSE.
Insight developed a tool to analyse the current state of the waiting lists, predict future demand and capacity, and optimise the reservation strategy used in daily operation. A number of factors were taken into account:
A simulator understands the impact of cancellations and patients not attending their appointment and finds the best use of capacity in multiple clinics and locations
The system can also be used as a “What-if” analysis tool to understand potential changes in demand and supply
The tool provides results to different stakeholders in the form of customised dashboards
The key outputs of this research include:
This collaboration allowed the outpatient booking team to optimise their resource allocation across clinics and locations to reduce wait times and achieve more equitable access to outpatient services
This collaboration allowed the management team to carry out quantitative analysis of the impact of potential service changes, based on different scenarios
The solution included the development of a Health Sector Simulator to optimise the throughput of patients in medical clinics. This involves the collection, consistency checking and analysis of data associated with hospital facilities, equipment, medical personnel and patients. The solution can be further developed into a SaaS based Technology Platform that will allow them to leverage what the team created to resolve a key challenge in the Health Sector in Ireland and beyond.