Navigation Links
Cornell efficiency experts seek to save precious minutes in deploying ambulances
Date:6/17/2008

Every extra second it takes an ambulance to get to its destination can mean life or death. But how, besides driving faster, can ambulances get emergency services to people in need as efficiently as possible, every day? It's a classic operations research question that three Cornell researchers are tackling in groundbreaking ways.

A National Science Foundation grant of almost $300,000 is allowing associate professor of operations research Shane Henderson, assistant professor of operations research Huseyin Topaloglu and applied mathematics Ph.D. student Mateo Restrepo to work on this problem. They are seeking to perfect a computer program that estimates how best to spread ambulances across a municipality to get maximum coverage at all times.

The researchers are working on a computerized approach to take such available information as historical trends of types and incidences of calls, geographical layout and real-time locations of ambulances to figure out where ambulance bases should be, and where ambulances should be sent once finished with a call.

The whole process is not unlike the puzzle game Tetris, Restrepo said. The easy part is knowing what an ideal system should look like. The hard part is anticipating various outcomes in a limited period of time, like the falling blocks in the video game.

Using their program, the researchers are recommending that ambulance organizations break the traditional setup of assigning ambulance crews to various bases and sending them back to their assigned locations once finished with a call.

Going back to base isn't necessarily the best option for maximum efficiency, say the operations researchers. It might be better to redeploy an idle ambulance to where coverage is lacking, even though no calls have yet been placed there.

"If everyone is constantly going back to the base assigned, they're ignoring what's going on in real time in the system," Henderson explained.

The concept is easy enough, but the solution is tricky, especially because of the enormous amount of uncertainty involved.

The field of operations research that deals with making decisions over time in the face of uncertainty is called dynamic programming, in which Topaloglu is an expert. The key is coming up with what's called a value function, a mathematical construction that estimates the impact of a current decision on the future evolution of the system. In this case, it's the impact of current ambulance locations on the number of future calls that are served on time.

"When you're trying to make a decision, you have to select the locations of your ambulances so the performance predicted by the value function is as good as possible," Topaloglu explained. "But it turns out that computing that function is very difficult, especially if you're talking about the scale of the problem we're trying to solve."

Henderson has more than 10 years of experience working on such problems, using a technique called simulation optimization, which is modeling different scenarios of what could happen in any given industrial system.

He and a colleague have already commercialized an earlier generation of emergency medical system planning, which now forms the basis for the technology used by the New Zealand ambulance company Optima.


'/>"/>

Contact: Blaine Friedlander
bpf2@cornell.edu
607-254-8093
Cornell University Communications
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Canine Cancer Web Exclusive for Dog Owners and Lovers, Presented by Morris Animal Foundation - Features Colorado State and Cornell University Veterinary Cancer Experts
2. NYP/Weill Cornell physician-scientists present latest cancer findings at ASCO meeting
3. Weill Cornell team identifies new cancer stem cell driving metastatic tumors
4. Cornell receives federal grants to create fabrics to render toxic chemicals harmless
5. Weill Cornell science briefs May 2008
6. NYP/Weill Cornell gene therapy clinical trial yields promising results for Batten disease
7. Weill Cornell Medical College Announces First Commencement of Its New Medical School Graduates in Doha, Qatar, May 8, 2008
8. Weill Cornell receives funding to study creation of new elder abuse center
9. Weill Cornell team identifies potential new drug targets against hormone-dependent breast cancer
10. $50 million gift to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center
11. By color-coding atoms, new Cornell electron microscope promises big advance in materials analysis
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/21/2017)... ... , ... Phytocéane invites you to take an exotic journey deep ... with ZANZIBAR SHOWER GEL. Inspired by the beauty of Zanzibar, a Tanzanian archipelago off ... vegetal coral to create this gentle, crystal-clear shower gel to cleanse the body and ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... ... January 21, 2017 , ... Northern California Medical Associates ... joined their multi-specialty medical group. The dermatology practice provides general dermatologic treatment, outpatient ... to add this excellent dermatology practice to our group’s medical services,” explains NCMA ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... , ... January 21, 2017 , ... In the United ... individuals experience the freedom of recovery, they often feel shame for having struggled with ... stress disorder (PTSD). In the workshop, “Rising Strong in Life After an Eating Disorder” ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... Spectrum Aquatics Launches New ADA Portable Motion Trek BP ... Since the lift is mounted on wheels, it can be wheeled out of the way ... to fasten to the deck. "We have transformed the feedback from customers into specific enhancements ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 20, 2017 , ... Yisrayl Hawkins, Pastor and Overseer at The ... bible in homes across the world. Yisrayl says this generation is a time like no ... to turn to the Bible. , Yisrayl says he does not want to sound like ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/21/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... Route Of Administration, End User - Forecast to 2025" report ... ... a CAGR of around 7.8% over the next decade to reach ... analyzes the global markets for Advanced Drug Delivery across all the ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... Stock-Callers.com today evaluates the following Drug ... Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE: NVO ), Sucampo Pharmaceuticals ... Inc. (NASDAQ: PTX ). These stocks belong to ... , 2017, finishing near its session lows. As per a ... while shares of health care companies in the S&P 500 ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... January 20, 2017 Avillion LLP, a co-developer ... Mark Weinberg , MD MBA as Chief Medical Officer. Dr ... USA . ... Dr Weinberg has spent more than 17 years as a ... companies to micro-cap biotech. Over the course of his career, he ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: