Find out how ORH’s patient transport simulation modelling helped HealthShare NSW, Australia, in the latest edition of The OR Society’s Impact magazine. Software engineer Tom Boness and consultant Hannah Mayes from ORH discuss how a collaborative approach with HealthShare NSW enabled them to maximise efficiency across the state as they transitioned to a new model of patient transport. You can read the full article in the Spring 2018 edition, as featured on the publisher’s website.
News and blog
ORH and Deloitte were commissioned to assess the operational and financial needs of the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust. ORH used analysis and benchmarking to identify potential operational efficiencies, and simulation modelling to understand resourcing requirements and the trajectory to meeting national standards. Deloitte undertook financial modelling to identify other efficiencies and quantify the economic implications of different implementation scenarios. The review resulted in a number of recommendations, the identification of optimal resourcing profiles to re-roster the Trust, and a contracting framework to fund the service. For more information, please read the EEAST news release.
Our managing director, Chris Polden, will be presenting at the Ambulance Leadership Forum on Wednesday 21 March at 8:30 am. Chris’s talk ‘A Decade of Change: The Capacity Challenge’ will draw on ORH’s experience of working with Ambulance Services in the UK for over 30 years. During this time there have been substantial changes both in the demands placed on Ambulance Services and how that demand is dealt with. The presentation will highlight some areas where capacity has been released within the ambulance service over the past decade and where some constraints to efficient ambulance operations have been introduced. We hope you can join Chris for an exciting insight into ambulance data.
ORH collaborated with the charity Sense in 2017 to develop a tool for exploring data about the deafblind population in the UK. Sense supports people with sensory impairments or complex needs so they can enjoy more independent lives. The tool developed by ORH provides estimates of the population who have a combined sight and hearing impairment, from 2015 through to 2035, by area, age and gender. This information will enable Sense, together with local authorities and health administration areas, to better plan future services such as housing, resource centres and wellbeing programmes. ORH is proud to have completed this project as part of the Operational Research Society Pro-bono OR scheme.
A key challenge faced by Fire & Rescue Services is tactical and operational preparedness. This focuses on the ability to have the right people, tools, vehicles and skills ready at the right time and place. As a result, organisations constantly search for better ways to predict and react in circumstances when normal operating function is disrupted.
Consultancy and technology companies, like ORH and FireServiceRota, have become allies in supplying innovative products to help Fire & Rescue Services solve these complex planning and mobilisation challenges.
Dynamic Cover for real-time support
To address these challenges, ORH developed the Dynamic Cover Tool (DCT) to assist decision-making in emergency service control rooms. The DCT gives clear insight into risk coverage and ensures resources are used as efficiently as possible.
The DCT achieves this by providing a real-time risk map to support officers in making appropriate back-up or standby moves for emergency response vehicles. For example, in situations where many resources are occupied responding to a major incident, or appliances being off the run due to maintenance or crewing deficiencies.
With the DCT, Fire Control can quickly decide if it is necessary to relocate available resources, so that appropriate standards of risk and response are maintained.
The DCT combines live status and AVL location data from CAD with historical demand and risk profiles. This is used to calculate a real-time picture of current coverage and areas of high/low risk, however it cannot automatically consider the effect of future changes to the availability of resources. The potential drawbacks of this are:
1. Retained personnel can be scheduled to go off-duty, causing understaffing at their station and an increase in risk levels. While fully predictable, these problems are only visible in the DCT when they are already fully in effect.
2. Vice versa, performing an unnecessary standby move when a crewing deficiency at an RDS station is predicted to be resolved imminently.
Assessing risk and coverage therefore needs multiple data sources to take a proactive approach to monitor and maintain a high level of service delivery to the community. One potential source is the Resource Management System, in which the schedules and rotas of firefighting personnel is managed; this must be flexible and reliable.
Predict and avoid understaffing
FireServiceRota is a flexible and reliable Resource Management System for retained and wholetime firefighters, making it possible to detect and prevent understaffing before it occurs, and informing Fire Control when availability will be restored.
FireServiceRota’s availability planning allows retained firefighters to schedule their intended rota, and to make exceptions if needed.
The software continuously monitors for crew availability based on the skills needed to operate different appliances. If the system detects (imminent) lack of a certain skills, it automatically asks unavailable members with the missing skills to become available.
In other words, FireServiceRota makes crewing levels highly predictable. This creates an opportunity to provide the DCT with information about predicted resource availability, instead of only real-time.
Preparation is better than reaction
The integration of DCT with FireServiceRota will allow Fire & Rescue Services not only to react to real time issues in coverage, but also to proactively detect cover shortages, allowing Control Rooms to prevent and prepare for reductions in coverage.
The integration will also allow authorities to predict when a station will be back in service, preventing unnecessary relocation of resources that would potentially put other regions at risk.
By planning and preparing for dynamic crewing levels using DCT and FireServiceRota, Fire & Rescue Services will possess ultimate control over their available resources, allowing them to deploy these in the most effective and efficient ways possible.
ORH has achieved certification to the internationally recognised ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 27001:2013 standards, following an independent assessment conducted by the British Assessment Bureau. This certification confirms ORH’s continued commitment to customer service and quality in delivery, and also to keeping our data, staff and premises secure.
ORH has now earned the right to display the coveted British Assessment Bureau quality shield and ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 27001:2013 logos to demonstrate our conformance to the standards.
ISO 9001 was first introduced in 1987 and requires organisations to prove that they do what they say they do, and that they have a Quality Management System in place to ensure consistency and improvement; leading to high levels of performance and customer satisfaction. Certified organisations are committed to continuous improvement and are regularly assessed to ensure that progress is being maintained.
ISO 27001 is the internationally recognised Information Security Management Standard that proves an organisation’s commitment to the security of their customer, employee and shareholder information. With ISO 27001 in place, ORH is able to minimise risks to potential data security breaches and reduce errors and costs, while demonstrating credibility and trust.
ORH has over 30 years’ experience within emergency service planning, setting the benchmark with a proven approach combining rigorous scientific analysis and experienced, insightful consultancy. Achieving the certification recognises our commitment to getting it right, for the good of our clients and the people who rely on their services.
Having completed a major review of metropolitan ambulance cover in Greater Vancouver in 2014/15, ORH is excited to be back in British Columbia, this time to undertake a review for City of Richmond Fire-Rescue. The review requires in-depth analysis of the current service profile, before going on to model the optimum deployment of resources to meet current and future (10-year) projected demand. ORH’s detailed modelling approach uses demand, workload and geography to simulate potential options for change. The work is due to be completed by the end of November 2017.
An independent ORH study helped British Columbia Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) secure $91.4 million of additional funding over the next three years. ORH forecasted that BC’s growing and aging population would increase demand for services by approximately 6% per year over the next five years. The data and evidence from ORH’s review was used by BCEHS in developing their 2020 Action Plan and supporting business case. This additional funding from the Ministry of Health will provide six new ambulances, more paramedics and dispatchers, together with new equipment and programs. This will enable BCEHS to improve emergency response times and become more sustainable and innovative. For more information, please read the BCEHS news release.
In April 2017, consultants and data analysts from ORH attended The OR Society’s biennial Young to OR conference in London. Here they were involved in workshops, technique tasters and keynote sessions. They also attended talks from OR academics and practitioners on a wide range of subjects, including “Robust Optimisation”, “Working with Uncertainty” and “Decision Analysis for Decision Making”. ORH analyst Dr Lauren Petrie gave a presentation on “Modelling Access to Healthcare in the Australian Outback”, which related to ORH’s ongoing work with the Royal Flying Doctor Service. A team challenge was also undertaken which required participants to use inter-disciplinary networking and problem solving to design and present an OR solution to a real-life complex problem. ORH staff were placed in both the winning and runners-up teams.
Find out how ORH’s simulation and optimisation modelling has helped London Fire Brigade in the latest edition of The OR Society’s Impact magazine. Andrew Cooper, a consultant at ORH, discusses how ORH’s collaborative approach with LFB has helped to maximise performance across London in times of austerity. You can read the full article in the Spring 2016 edition, as featured on The OR Society’s website.