Improved Quantitative Methods to Support Health Care Management and Planning

  • contact:

    Stefan Nickel

  • funding:

    Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD)

Objective target

The joint project between Instituto Superior Técnico (IST, Portugal) and Universität des Saarlandes (Germany) aims to develop quantitative mo-dels and tools to support planning of health care organizations, while pro-moting the exchange of knowledge between the working groups and the specialization of young researchers (PhD and MSc students). This project will allow young researchers to get in touch with international experts, to complete their studies in an international context, and to carry out comparative research.

Health care planning and management is a complex task that involves decisions that range from the strategic to the operational level. Although the strategic, tactic, and operational level are not totally independent, they have been approached separately mainly due to their complexity.
In this joint project we aim to develop decision support tools that model the interaction between strategic and operational decisions, arising in the health care sector.

Previous work carried out by both project partners led to a number of interesting and novel Operations Research problems, which we will focus on within the project. The research areas will include: hospital network optimization with detailed cost analysis; location planning of health care units under uncertain conditions; structuring networks of long-term care providers; analysis of different approaches to improve the models' effi-ciency; application of mathematical programming models to comparative case studies on planning problems common to Portuguese and German health care units; planning of patient transports in hospitals; analysis of clinical pathways; and the improvement of appointment planning in hospi-tals. Furthermore, on a strategic and operational level, previous models have been using similar modeling techniques that need to be improved in order to provide solutions to complex real computational problems.
The main benefit of the project is the opportunity to test the developed general models and methodologies both on the Portuguese and German health care system to validate the models’ robustness and usefulness.