Health: Facility Location, Covering and Transport
The research project HealthFaCT is funded by the BMBF from 1st December 2016 to 31st May 2020.
The main goal of HealthFaCT is the development of an innovative and software-aided system for optimization and decision making to improve three essential pillars of medical care: pharmacies, emergency physicians as well as scheduling of ambulances. The main focus of this project lies on rural environments. Mathematical methodologies can make an important contribution in terms of data-driven facts rather than political argumentation.
Due the current pandemic situation, HealthFaCT was augmented with the project Healthfact-Cor. This project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research from June 1st, 2020 to November 30, 2020. The goal is to build on the results of HealthFaCT and thereby contribute to coping with the pandemic situation using mathematical optimization.
Ambulatory care is an essential part of our health care system. This system faces major challenges, especially with respect to demographic changes, centralization of health care facilities as well as a combination of dwindling ressources and increasing costs. This change is already noticeable in rural environments. Small villages and dispersed settlements are affected by huge population decreases. Hence, the current medical infrastructure is no longer sustainable.
A health care system which remains operational is the basis of a high quality of life and its development has an exceptional relevance to society. Decision-supporting systems improving ambulatory care in rural environments are developed, used and evaluated within HealthFaCT. Thereby, high uncertainties in terms of demographic development, frequently varying demands or suddenly appearing emergency calls must not be ignored. Moreover, the planning of patient transportations and rescue missions have real-time requirements without any knowledge about future requests. For the purpose of evaluating the established models and algorithms, a complex simulation environment will be developed. Not only the current situation but also future scenarios can be studied with this system. The usage of newly developed solution methods can be assessed with this tool in terms of costs and usability, which could be beneficial in making political decisions.
The collaborative project HealthFaCT is divided into four subprojects:
- Subproject 1: "Optimal pharmaceutical supply"
- Subproject 2: "Optimal locations for emergency medical services"
- Subproject 3: "Minimizing waiting times in patient transportations and rescue missions"
- Subproject 4: "Data analysis and simulation environment"
- University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Prof. Dr. Frauke Liers, project coordinator),
- RWTH Aachen University (Prof. Dr. Christina Büsing),
- TU Kaiserslautern (Prof. Dr. Sven O. Krumke),
- Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM (Dr. Neele Leithäuser).
Practical partners are:
- Apothekerkammer Nordrhein
- Kreisverwaltung Mainz-Bingen
- Stadtverwaltung Kaiserslautern
- Gesundheitsamt der StädteRegion Aachen
- Informatikgesellschaft für Software-Entwicklung mbH
- Gesundheitsregion plus Erlangen-Höchstadt & Erlangen
The HealthFaCT team also cooperates with IBOSS.
Background and Goals
In this project three areas of medical supply are addressed in order to help coping with the current pandemic situation. On the one hand, the emergency service planning of pharmacies is to be expanded so that as few pharmacies as possible are open and the population continues to be well looked after. Furthermore, locations for vaccination centers are to be planned under fairness and urgency aspects. The last area regarded is the patient transport of infected patients between hospitals in order to keep the risk of infection low while relieving crowded hospitals.
- SP 1-Cor - Adjusted opening times of the pharmacies while maintaining a high level of supply (RWTH Aachen)
- SP 2-Cor - Site planning for corona vaccination centers and distribution of vaccines according to urgency and fairness aspects (TU Kaiserslautern)
- SP 3-Cor - Ambulance transport of infected and non-infected patients to suitable hospitals (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg)
- SP 4-Cor - Simulation platform for visualization of results from TP 1-Cor through TP 3-Cor (ITWM Kaiserslautern)
In addition to the partners that have been listed before, the Westpfalz Klinikum is now also part of the project.