Improving Healthcare Operations

Prof Jin Qi is working to develop optimization tools to improve public health operation systems in Hong Kong. This work is critical given Hong Kong’s already overburdened health care system faces unprecedented challenges in the face of a rapidly increasing elderly population. By mid-2046 around one third of the population will be over-65, up from 17.7% today. The demand for healthcare services ihas long exceeded supply through the public system, reflected by the very lengthy average waiting times in out-patient clinics, especially for non-urgent patients. For example, in November 2019 the longest waiting time for outpatient surgery bookings stood at 114 weeks whilst the median waiting time could be up to 65 weeks. The number of patients waiting for elective surgeries is ever-growing, and with an aging population, the imbalance of supply and demand in the currently short-staffed hospitals is looking to become even more critical. 

As an expert on operations and decision analytics, Prof Jin Qi develops systems to manage patient flow, optimizing the allocation and quality of services of the healthcare system in both Singapore and Hong Kong. Healthcare systems are complex and expensive. Hong Kong’s public system provides high quality services with low cost for all eligible citizens but faces long existing problems like rising cost and understaffing issues. Healthcare decision analytics enables different healthcare organizations to better identify the source of system problems and enhance management efficiency to utilize resources, which in turn provides more cost-effective treatment and eliminates waste. Overcapacity in the healthcare system is a multidimensional problem and there is no quick fix, but with the use of technology, higher efficiency can be attained. Decision analytics will be a key factor on the road to operational excellence.

In other research, Prof Qi has worked with Hong Kong Christian Service to come up with more efficient meal delivery service, making sure the meals are delivered on time at a lower cost, applying a similar model in her latest project with Haven of Hope Christian Service. The organization provides meal home-delivery service to over 1000 elderly people. Given the size of this operation, proper routing model helps minimize the travel cost and thus ensure higher efficiency and ensure food quality.