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June 23, 2015

Health care leaders to participate in innovative computer modelling boot camp

What if we could see what community-based health services would make a positive impact on patients, without actually having to invest in and implement those services first? What if we could use computer modelling to simulate these community-based programs, to see what potential impact they could have on the length of patients’ hospitals stays and health outcomes?

From June 23 to June 26, 35 representatives from Saskatchewan health regions, health organizations and the Ministry of Health will be doing just that. The health system leaders will meet in Saskatoon to participate in an innovative boot camp and workshop aimed at using computer modelling to help inform decision-making in health care.

The modelling boot camp and workshop is hosted by Saskatchewan’s Health Quality Council (HQC), through the provincial Emergency Department Waits and Patient Flow Initiative. The Emergency Department Waits and Patient Flow Initiative is involving patients, families, front-line health providers and other partners in finding ways to improve patient flow and provide better experiences for every patient.  

“Saskatchewan has become a leader nationally and globally in using dynamic modelling to run ‘what-if’ health system scenarios,” said Graham Fast, lead for the initiative’s Provincial Kaizen Operations Team (PKOT).

“There are only a handful of people in the world who have the training and expertise to create the health systems models that we are working toward. We are fortunate to have access to these experts in Saskatchewan.”

Computer scientist and internationally recognized modelling expert Nate Osgood, PhD, will lead the workshop, with involvement from internationally recognized Australian expert Dr. Geoff McDonnell, HQC modelling expert Yuan Tian and geriatrician Dr. Jenny Basran, the lead clinical consultant on the modelling work.

The workshop is tailored to give health system administrators a high-level overview of health systems modelling to show the potential of using modelling to inform decision-making in health care. The boot camp will focus on the technical aspects of using the computer-based models.

“The Health Quality Council is offering this training as part of its mission to accelerate improvement in the quality of health care in Saskatchewan,” said Gary Teare, HQC’s chief executive officer.

“This dynamic modelling work holds the great potential to inform improvements in health care planning and delivery in this province.”