Cardiff is renowned for its long and successful tradition of research in this field. We have a large and active group of staff and postgraduate research students working on numerous health-related topics, including planning and management of healthcare services, epidemiology, and prevention, early detection and treatment of disease. Professor Harper is also Director of Health Modelling Centre Cymru (hmc2). A number of PhD students and Research Associates (post-doctoral students) are funded directly by Local Health Boards. An exciting recent initiative is the creation of a Mathematical Modelling Unit, funded by the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board with four research associates working between the OR group and the Health Board within the Aneurin Bevan Continuous Improvement team
Research projects typically comprise of a mixture of theoretical and practical investigations, and many projects have been funded by external organisations, including various funding councils, Department of Health, NHS Information Centre, NHS Trusts and Primary Care Trusts.
Particular contributions include stochastic models for integrated healthcare resource systems (hospital bed capacities, theatre scheduling and workforce planning), stochastic facility location problems, conditional phase-type modelling, patient choice, combined data mining and simulation methodologies, modelling the cost-effectiveness of various strategies for preventing and screening for disease including breast cancer, colorectal cancer, HIV/AIDS and diabetic retinopathy, targeted screening programmes for Chlamydia, small world models for the dynamics of HIV infection, and novel research on healthcare behavioural modelling.
Several staff within the group are members of the European Working Group on Operational Research Applied to Health Services (ORAHS), and members of the Steering Group of the EPSRC funded Network in Healthcare Modelling and Simulation (MASHnet). Prof. Harper’s work on screening for Chlamydia was awarded the 2006 OR Society’s Goodeve Medal for the best paper published in the Journal of the Operational Research Society. The 2011 ORAHS international conference was be held in Cardiff (Organising team: Paul Harper, Janet Williams, Vince Knight and Israel Vieira). Recent PhD graduate Richard Wood (modelling of rehabilitation services using queueing theory and scheduling techniques) won the best PhD prize by the UK OR Society.
Current and recent projects include:
- Forecasting of ambulance demand, workforce rostering and deployment of vehicles.
- Game theoretic models for EMS-ED interface.
- Modelling of hospital bed capacities, workforce and waiting lists
- Intensive care provision.
- Operating theatre scheduling.
- Emergency unit reconfiguration.
- Forecasting hospital admissions linked to weather events (with the Met Office).
- Research Into Global Healthcare Tools – creating a toolkit of techniques for NHS service delivery.
- Workforce planning model for anaesthetists.
- Modelling treatment effects in the HIV/AIDS Epidemic as part of a European Union concerted action.
- Development of data mining and decision tree tools for assisting the NHS Information Centre with the redesign of Healthcare Resource Groups (HRGs).
- Modelling the future demand for residential care in an ageing population.
- Novel research on incorporating human behavioural factors in simulation models with application to breast cancer screening.
- Facility-location modelling.
- Modelling nurse skill-mix needs for inpatient wards and in the community.
- Research on screening for Chlamydia.