Operations Research in Healthcare or Who Let the Engineer Into the Hospital?
Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
University of Toronto
December 14, 2004
12 Noon - 1:00 PM
Davis Centre 1304, University of Waterloo
View Video of Presentation in HI Alive Archive: Research Seminars Archive 2004-2005
Health Care is the number one industry in Canada; bigger than automotive, telecommunications or steel. Total spending in 2001 was $106 billion up ($3,416 per person) or close to 10% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In 2001 in the U.S., spending was $1.4 dollars US ($5,021US per person), over 14% of the GDP. The US spends far more as a percent of GDP than any other country. Health care systems all over the world are in the midst of a serious financial crisis, and the situation will likely get worse in the next few years. Demand is going up as the population ages, and costs are increasing as the drugs and technologies continue to get more complex and expensive. Of course, it would help if there were more money available.
However, I also strongly believe that the health care industry could be run a lot more efficiently. Operations Management is planning, coordinating, controlling and evaluating the use and allocation of health care resources. The goals are quality improvement, cost containment, greater effectiveness and increased efficiency. Over the past 15 years, I have supervised over 100 engineering students on projects in health care. In this talk, I will describe a few examples, and where I believe that we need to go in the future.
Michael Carter is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. He received his PhD in Mathematics (C&O) from the University of Waterloo. He has worked extensively in university timetabling, production scheduling and healthcare applications. His current research focus is in the area of healthcare resource modeling with a variety of projects in several hospitals, home care and mental health institutions. He has won the Annual Practice Prize from the Canadian Operational Research Society (CORS) three times (1988, 1992, 1996). In 2000, he received the CORS Award of Merit for lifetime contributions to Canadian Operational Research. He also received an “Excellence in Teaching” Award from the University of Toronto Student Administrative Council. He is on the editorial board for the “Journal of Scheduling” and the journal “Health Care Management Science.” He is a member of the “Nursing Effectiveness, Utilization and Outcomes Research Unit” and a mentor in the “Health Care, Technology and Place” Program at the University of Toronto. He was a lecturer with the Project H.O.P.E. international program in Healthcare Quality in Central and Eastern Europe.