Our new mathematical models are reducing waiting times in hospitals to save lives.
Researchers sought to build and develop new mathematical models to unravel the complex reasons behind delays on hospital wards, cut waiting times and ultimately save lives.
Putting maths at the heart of medicine
The team from the School of Mathematics, led by Professors Jeff Griffiths and Paul Harper, engineered lifesaving improvements to healthcare systems. The team created and applied new mathematical models to health systems in England and Wales, enhancing a wide range of services through the study of patient queues and flows.
A simulation model was built at the University Hospital of Wales to study patient flows through the Accident and Emergency unit. In South London, the team's work helped markedly reduce the mortality of stroke patients. The research also drove net efficiency gains and better use of resources at two hospitals in South Wales.
The research helped save lives and cut costs. The models helped inform capacity planning, shorten waiting times and improve efficiency at a new Major Trauma Centre and the Hyper Acute Stroke Unit at St George's Hospital in South London.
Modelling at the hyper-acute unit helped reduce the mortality of stroke patients by 60%. The new unit and stroke care service were rated as the best in the country by the National Sentinel Audit 2010 organised by the Royal College of Physicians.
Net efficiency gains of £1.6m per year were delivered in the emergency department at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. Patient care and hospital resources have also been significantly improved at Rookwood Hospital - a major neurological rehabilitation centre in South Wales.
- Harper, P. R. , Knight, V. A. and Marshall, A. H. 2012. Discrete conditional phase-type models utilising classification trees: application to modelling health service capacities. European Journal of Operational Research 219 (3), pp.522-530. (10.1016/j.ejor.2011.10.035)