Monday, June 2, 2008

Mike Carter on New Challenges for OR Applications in Health Care

I had the pleasure of meeting Professor Michael W. Carter at the Canadian Operations Research Society conference (CORS) in Quebec City, and listening to his plenary talk on "New Challenges for Operations Research Applications in Health Care" - the kick-off talk for this year's CORS conference on May 12th, 2008.

Professor Carter is one of the Canadian leading experts in healthcare and operations research, with over 17 years of experience in OR applications in healthcare. He currently leads the Centre for Research in Healthcare Engineering, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto. Click here for more information on Professor Mike Carter.

Mike has been very kind to allow me to publish his talk here on Here are some key points to take away:
  • Healthcare is North America's single largest industry; Canada spent $142 billion CDN in 2005; US spent $2 trillion.

  • Canada's per-capita spending ($3,326 USD) was half of US ($6,401 USD), and this is how it's been growing:

  • US & Canada are about the same in terms of quality of health care, access, efficiency , and equity (based on the Commonwealth Fund 2004 International Health Policy Survey)

  • A new way of looking at the healthcare system's stakeholders (no wonder it's difficult to make decisions in a hospital):
  • Challenges in healthcare system can be viewed as operations research challenges:

    • Patient flow - supply chain

    • Surgical wait list - better scheduling

    • Infectious diseases - logistics

    • Health human resources - forecasting

Mike also demonstrated the application of O.R. techniques in his own practice:

  • Ontario Wait List Management

  • Colorectal cancer screening

  • Cancer treatment centre locations

  • Health Human Resource Modelling

Thank you Mike for allowing me to write about your talk. It was delightful to see OR in action in the Canadian healthcare. We look forward to seeing the 30% potential waste of money spent in healthcare to shrink fast.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This trend is certainly catching on. Recent POMS and INFORMS conferences note a huge increase in papers related to healthcare. Mike C. was certainly ahead of his time and has been great in bringing others into the mix. Another Mike (Magazine)