DETROIT — The patient-centered medical home model is an emerging team-based approach for primary health care. PCMH is aimed at improving timely access to care, providing continuity of care by a health care team and lowering health care costs. PCMH aims to alleviate future health problems through tailored health care that focuses on patient wellness and prevention.

Kai Yang, Ph.D., professor of industrial and systems engineering in the College of Engineering at Wayne State University, has received a collaborative research grant from the National Science Foundation for the project, “An Allocation Model with Dynamic Updates for Balanced Workload Distribution on Patient-Centered Medical Homes.”

The project, funded collectively at $552,009 of which $220,009 has been allocated to Wayne State, is a collaboration with researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Georgia. Yang is leading the project, which will focus on the Veterans Health Administration, the largest health care system in the United States.

According to Yang, the project aims to develop a comprehensive health information technology data preparation strategy that will provide health care demand and supply portfolio data. In addition, the team will develop an adaptive discrete cluster-based statistical estimation model that can predict health care workload based on key patient attributes, such as diagnosis and treatment. The project will also create stochastic optimization models to aid in managing patient panels — the set of all patients assigned to a primary care physician — and staffing levels for PCMH teams.

“These models will provide dynamic updating rules for patient and staffing allocation with a random and migrating patient population in medical facilities,” said Yang. “We also aim to provide a real-time appointment scheduling system to improve daily operations through optimal patient allocation and staffing under random and changing patient demands for service.”

By developing a health care workload portfolio estimation model, a patient allocation model and a dynamic scheduling strategy, the research team will improve PCMH practices by assigning patients to provider team members so that providers’ time can be fully utilized and patients receive prompt, adequate and economical health care.

“We expect the results of this research will be implemented in hundreds of medical facilities across the U.S.,” Yang said. “In addition, the research will give undergraduate and graduate students, particularly underrepresented groups, the chance to participate in the research and various conferences stemming from this project. This additional learning opportunity for our students gives them real-world experience that will ultimately benefit their future careers.”


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