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Techniques for making Barbie dolls can improve health care

stic of operations research that are found in manufacturing have already begun finding their way into delivering medical care, maintaining health, arranging for care, and administrative processes, he said. He cited several examples.

  • The use of supply chain management techniques to improve the way that blood banks collect blood from donors and deliver units to hospitals.
  • An increasing number of hospitals adopting capacity planning techniques used in assembly lines.
  • The use of scheduling systems used by service providers like Sears to reduce the delay in physician and clinic waiting rooms.
  • The application of techniques for situating warehouses to improve the way that ambulances are located in anticipation of emergency calls.

    Prof. Pierskalla said that operations research offers potential for improvement not only at the healthcare administrative level but also at the clinical level with decision support systems for diagnosis, therapy, prevention, disease management, and progressive care.

    The improvements ahead, cautioned Prof. Pierskalla, must be accompanied by research that leads to better data mining; more powerful algorithms; better decision analysis tools; better outcome measures; and integrated models of patient-centered supply and delivery chains in the home, outpatient center, hospital, and long-term care facility.


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  • Contact: Barry List
    barry.list@informs.org
    410-691-7852
    Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
    21-Oct-2004


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