Palestrante: Helena Ramalhinho Lourenço (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
Abstract: In today’s world, the Health and Social Care sectors are facing important challenges due the changes in demographics (the increment of population, aging patients and population at risk); the increase number of treatments, health and social services; the increase of inequalities in some regions as for example related with economic and pandemic crisis; and also the rising of the costs of all these services. All these reasons lead to the enormous pressure to have a more efficient health and social care management, and the application of new strategies to be able to provide a good quality service without a significant cost incremental. International organizations and governments are recognizing that investing in social and health services have a positive impact on societies and population, as also recognized by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.
We will focus on the Home Health and Social Care (HHSC) and on the relationship between these two services. Home Health Care (HHC) is defined as “medical and paramedical services delivered to patients at home”. The basic forms of Home Health Care are Home Hospitalization and In-Home Primary Health Care. The services associated with HHC include doctor care, nursing care, physical and/or speech therapy, nutritional support, pharmaceutical services, etc. The Home Social Care (HSC) refers to provide social work, personal care, protection or social support services to risk or needed population due illness, disability, old age or poverty. The HSC services include a great variety of services as cleaning activities; companionship activities, personal care, delivery meals at home, etc.
The planning and scheduling problems arising in HHSC are of great complexity, since the number of the services provided and caretakers are growing, the caretakers require a good quality of service and the organizations need to control their costs. Therefore, the managers must get the support of optimization systems to fulfill all these previous goals. We argue that Operations Research (OR) can provide tools, based on mathematical models and efficient algorithms, that can play an important role to improve the overall HHSC sector. For the health sector, there are already a large volume of interesting applications and articles that we will briefly review. However, for the social sector, the research is just starting with a few works in the literature. We will also describe some of the most challenging issues in the HHSC, as the coordination between the HHC and HSC, known as Integrated Home Care; the person-focus mathematical models including stochastic aspects and last minute changes; the inclusion of the caregivers/caretakers satisfaction aspects in the system; and the accessibility to these services by a large and/or rural population. The Integrated Home Care (IHC) consists in the health and social services acting jointly, sharing information and goals, and also coordinating decisions. The IHC is a policy goal for many organizations since it is expected to have a positive impact on the quality and the cost of the overall system, health status and caretaker/caregiver satisfaction. The OR models work on optimizing resources, but in the health and social sector, most of the time, the resources are people (not things like boxes, cars, machines…). Therefore, the incorporation of aspect like people satisfaction, stochasticity and accessibility is more relevant than never to be able to put on practice the models and algorithms developed. We will present some examples and challenges, as well some ongoing projects with the support of the Barcelona City Council and the Government of Catalonia. em breve
Bio: Helena Ramalhinho Lourenço is Professor at University Pompeu Fabra and a Barcelona GSE Affiliated Professor. She has a B.A. and Master degree in Statistics and Operations Research from the University of Lisbon, Portugal, and a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Cornell University, New York, USA.
She has been involved in different research projects and consulting for firms in the area of Operations Research and Logistics. Helena has published several articles in prestigious international scientific journals and has presented her work at international congresses and conferences.
Helena teaches at various undergraduate, master’s and PhD`s programs. She is currently the director of the Business Analytics Research Group and a researcher at the Center for Operational Research at the University of Lisbon. Her research interests include Operations Research, Scheduling, Combinatorial Optimization, Metaheuristics, Iterated Local Search, Heuristic Search Optimization, Vehicle Routing, Job-Shop Scheduling, Supply Chain Management, Logistics, Production and Operations Management.