M.A.Sc. Candidate Selena Celic is researching ways to improve the healthcare system by focussing on reducing the patient wait time in hospital radiology departments.
Selena Celic’s, “A Model for Improvement of Patient Wait Times” objective is to ensure emergency patient wait times do not increase – but also attempting to decrease the wait times of outpatients.
“COVID-19 changed healthcare – but it does not mean it cannot be worked towards to improve the situation and attempt to return back to the rate at which patients were receiving care before,” says Selena Celic.
The impact of COVID-19 drastically changed the way healthcare is provided to patients. Hospital radiology departments providing CT and MRI scans for emergency, inpatients, and outpatients have felt the effect of longer-than-expected wait times for patients to receive care.
In Ontario, there are four different priority levels which patients are placed in when referrals are received at the hospital. The patient placement in these different priority levels determine how long patients should be waiting from the point of the hospital receiving the referral for patients to obtain their appointments.
Celic says, “In past years, wait times have been longer than the expected wait time targets laid out by the Ontario government. Due to COVID-19, the wait times for patients have significantly increased – leaving patients to potentially have undiagnosed health-related problems to worsen.”
Celic’s work looks to develop a predictive model which looks at patient wait times for CT and MRI scans during the COVID-19 pandemic based on historical data.
Her thesis is two-fold; the first portion is a comprehensive data analysis which looks at the data to provide information on trends, types of scans, distribution of patient types, distribution of patient priority levels and much more.
With the collected data, the second portion of the simulation model is created in FlexSim HC. Some items the model considers are technician and machine availability, working hours, scan lengths, and patient arrival trends.