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A Mixed-Methods Approach for Clinical Triage to Improve the Patient’s Journey and System Performance

Fully-funded* 3 year PhD scholarship offered by the University of Strathclyde Strategic Technology Partnership with Capita.

  • Number of scholarships 1
  • Value Fee waiver at Home/EU rate and annual stipend £14,510*
  • Opens 9 May 2017
  • Deadline 30 June 2017
  • Help with Tuition fees, Living costs
  • Duration 36 months

Eligibility

Candidates are required to have:

  • An excellent undergraduate degree with Honours in a relevant business, scientific/technological or social science subject. The PhD project requires a numerate graduate with interests in healthcare. Candidates should have at least a strong Honours degree or equivalent (a strong 2:1 Honours degree, or a B.Sc. degree with 3.3 GPA in a 4.0 system), or preferably a Master’s degree, in a relevant discipline such as management science, industrial engineering, operations research, mathematics or computer science (amongst others). Experience/knowledge in relevant MS/OR techniques is not essential but desirable.
  • A Masters degree (or equivalent) will be strongly preferred
  • Students may also have other relevant experience or skills which are relevant to this project
  • Candidates who are not native English speakers will be required to provide evidence for their English skills (such as by IELTS or similar tests that are approved by UKVI, or a degree completed in an English speaking country).

Project Details

Clinical triage has been an increasingly popular area of research in the operations management, analytics and operational research (OR) communities due to its significant impact on the downstream health system.  A patient’s journey starts in the system with triage, and patient data including basic demographics, presenting complaint and physiology (heart rate and blood pressure) influence ongoing management and resource utilization. Decions made at triage have significant impact on the hospital system, since the triage category directly influences the location in which patients are seen, and therefore, a system under stress fails to achieve KPIs, resulting in a degradation in patient care. 

Optimising patient flow within the Emergency Department (ED) requires an integrated approach to patient management that extends beyond the ED back to the community following treatment within the hospital. Triage is the landfall moment in a patient’s journey, where their condition requires the resource intensive (and costly) management within a hospital rather than community based services.

In this project, the main objective is to better understand patient flows and build a decision support tool that integrates various OR tools in the most effective way in order “to better understand how a patient’s journey can be determined and influenced by enhanced processes at triage.”  How data generated at triage can be linked to the patient’s record to create sophisticated predictive modelling of the patient’s journey and resource requirement during the episode of care within the hospital and broader healthcare system.  The project will involve a continuous collaboration with external clients Capita and local NHS hospitals for the purposes of data collection and implementation/experimentation.  We consider in particular three OR toolboxes in order to design and implement such a mixed-methods framework:


1)    Simulation will enable us to build models that will be able to evaluate what-if scenarios when the system involves various uncertainties.
2)    Optimization will enable us to build models that can make the most out of the system while taking into account its limitations and constraints.
3)    Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis will enable us to encounter the often contradictory preferences of various stakeholders of the system.


These toolboxes will be integrated to each other in the final framework in order to minimize their own limitations. 
This project is funded by University of Strathclyde Strategic Technology Partnership with Capita.

How to apply

At this stage, we are inviting applicants to apply for the scholarship only. The successful candidate will then be asked to complete an application for PhD study at Strathclyde. 

All applications should include:

  • a cover letter indicating the candidate's relevant skills/experience and how they can contribute to this research
  • a CV and relevant qualification transcripts.
  • two references (please refer to guidance on references)

    When sending the above documents please use the following file-naming convention: fullname_typeofdocument

    For example,

    Johnsmith_coverletter

    Johnsmith_CV

    Johnsmith_transcript1

    Johnsmith_transcript2

    Johnsmith_reference1

    Johnsmith_reference2

    Apply now by uploading your documents here.

*We will keep your details on file to use when any other relevent scholarships arise.