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Logistics Optimization of the Home Health Care and Social Services

Logistics Optimization of the Home Health Care and Social Services

The Business Analytics Research Group got funded to work on the project "Logistics Optimization of the Home Health Care and Social Services".

The main objectives of the project are to extend mathematical models and algorithms from Operations Research and Analytics, successfully applied to different industries, to the Healthcare Logistics area by incorporating the particularities of this sector: the human factor, the risk and variability. The main goal is to help the healthcare manager to make better decisions and generate a positive impact in the patients, citizens, medical personal and the society in general.

This project is supported by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities of the Government of Spain (Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (MCIU), Agencia Estatal de Investigación (AEI), Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER))(RTI2018-095197-B-I00).

20.03.2020

Summary of the project

The challenges faced by the Healthcare sector can be considered currently one of the most relevant problems faced by the Society. The Joint Report
on Health Care and Long-Term Care Systems & Fiscal Sustainability of the European Union refers that “The allocative distribution of resources across functional areas of health care and long-term spending can be improved”. In this line, this project focuses on some Healthcare Logistics problems that have Transportation and Logistics as common scope. Within all organizational areas in Healthcare, Logistics is an important field that has had less attention than others in the research literature, as Economics, Operations and, obviously, Medical fields. In the Healthcare Logistics, we can include topics as location of health care centers and equipment, resources scheduling, inventory of medical material, transportation of patients and medical needs, home health care services, emergency services, etc. that are applications of the general Logistics field. The scientific community has extensively addressed many of the general Logistics challenges and problems with extensive applications on industrial systems, as production or retailing industries. Yet, the mathematical models and algorithms developed over the years cannot be easily and immediately applied to Healthcare. They need to be tailored to meet the needs of the particular aspects of the medical services and patients basically due human factor in Healthcare (Rais and Viana, 2011). The Patient/Citizen and the Medical Personnel are the focal point in the Healthcare Logistics.

Among all Healthcare Logistics topics, this project includes the following work packages: Data Analytics, Location of Health Care Services, Home Healthcare and Social Services, Emergency Services and Kidney Transplants. They cover a data analytics study to identify what healthcare logistics areas have the most improvement potential, both in the emergency response and in the home-care sectors, as an input for the next work packages. Next, we study and develop mathematical models and algorithms to solve the location of the healthcare services, the logistics of the home healthcare services and the issues in emergency logistics. The focus on home healthcare is also an important conclusion on the previous mentioned study. Additionally, in the next work package, the incorporation of the transportation issues in Kidney Exchange Programs will be studied. Finally, we intend to apply the findings of the research in a real environment with the collaboration on the Barcelona City Council, Agencia de Salud Pública de Barcelona, Organización Nacional de Transplantes and Sabadell Primary Health Centers.

Overall, the main objectives of the present project are to extend mathematical models and algorithms from Operations Research and Analytics, successfully applied in the industry, to the Healthcare Logistics area by incorporating the particularities of this sector: the human factor. It will be important to consider the health care manager's expertise to make better decisions and generate a positive impact in the patients, citizens, medical personal and the society in general.

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