CARTE/CHE Seminar: Application of Optimization and Simulation Techniques in Resource Allocation and Dispatch Decisions at Ornge


Friday, February 18, 2022
11:00am-12:00pm


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The Centre for Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Engineering (CARTE) Industry Speakers Series in collaboration with the Centre for Healthcare Engineering (CHE) welcomes Mahvareh Ahghari, Research Coordinator & Quality Analyst at Ornge, formerly Ontario Air Ambulance Corporation.

The seminar is moderated by Dionne Aleman, Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering and Director of morLab at UofT.

Abstract: As the largest transport medicine organization in Canada, Ornge provides patient care and transportation services across Ontario, covering a vast area of one million square kilometers. Ornge carries out approximately 19,000 patient transfers annually – with different priorities and required levels of care – using a fleet of land critical care transfer vehicles, rotor-wing aircraft (helicopters), and fixed-wing aircraft (airplanes) located in different bases across the province. Efficient deployment of these resources can enhance access to critical care while potentially decreasing costs.

In this session, I will discuss the development process of two decision support tools, including (1) an optimization/simulation model to determine optimal base locations, and examine the most efficient deployment procedures to improve the overall response time for emergent and urgent patient transports province-wide, and (2) an optimization tool for long-term (next day) patient transfers to optimize the transportation costs of non-urgent patients on a daily basis. I will present how applying these tools helps Ornge make evidence-based vehicle allocations and dispatch decisions in order to improve patient care while augmenting operations efficiency in a fiscally responsible manner.

This is a long-lasting collaboration (from 2008 until now) with Dr. Russell MacDonald (Medical Director, Ornge), Dr. Shane Henderson, Dr. David Shmoys, and a group of 30 graduate students from the Cornell Graduate School of Operations Research and Information Engineering (ORIE).

Speaker bio: Mahvareh Ahghari is a Research Coordinator & Quality Analyst at Ornge. She received her Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto in 2006, and joined Ornge in early 2007. Her research and professional activities are in the areas of resource allocation optimization, discrete event simulation, process improvement and performance analysis of emergency medical services, call centers and production systems.

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