Prioritization of patients' access to health care services

Authors: Abbasgholizadeh Rahimi, Samira
Advisor: Ait-Kadi, DaoudRuiz, Angel
Abstract: Access to health care services and long waiting times are one of the main issues in most of the countries including Canada and the United States. Health care organizations cannot increase their limited resources nor treat all patients simultaneously. Then, patients’ access to these services should be prioritized in a way that best uses the scarce resources, and to ensure patients’ safety. In fact, patients’ prioritization is an essential but forgotten practice in health care systems internationally. Some challenging aspects in patients’ prioritization problem are: considering multiple conflicting criteria, incomplete and imprecise data, associated risks that threaten patients on waiting lists, uncertainties in clinicians’ decisions, involving a group of decision makers’ opinions, and health system’s dynamic behavior. Inappropriate prioritization of patients waiting for treatment, affects directly on inefficiencies in health care delivery, quality of care, and most importantly on patients’ safety and their satisfaction. Inspired by these facts, in this thesis, we propose novel hybrid frameworks to prioritize patients by addressing a number of main shortcomings of current prioritization methods in the literature and in practice. Specifically, we first consider group decision-making, multiple prioritization criteria, these criteria’s importance weights and their interdependencies in the patients’ prioritization procedure. Then, we work on involving associated risks that threaten patients on waiting lists and handling existing uncertainties in the prioritization procedure with the aim of improving patients’ safety. Finally, we introduce a comprehensive framework focusing on all previously mentioned aspects plus involving patients in the prioritization, and considering dynamic aspects of the system in the patients’ prioritization. Through the application of the proposed comprehensive framework in the orthopedic surgery ward at Shohada University Hospital, and in an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) clinical program called PACEC at the Institute for Disability Rehabilitation in Physics of Québec (IRDPQ), we show the effectiveness of our approaches comparing the currently used ones. The implementation results prove that this framework could be adopted easily and effectively in different health care organizations. Notably, clinicians that participated in the study concluded that the framework produces a precise and reliable prioritization that is more effective than the currently in use prioritization methods. In brief, the results of this thesis could be beneficial for health care professionals to: i) evaluate patients’ priority more accurately and easily, ii) determine policies and guidelines for patients’ prioritization and scheduling, iii) manage waiting lists properly, vi) decrease the time required for patients’ prioritization, v) increase equity and justice among patients, vi) diminish risks that could threaten patients during waiting time, vii) consider all of the decision makers’ opinions in the prioritization procedure to prevent possible biases in the decision-making procedure, viii) involve patients and their families in the prioritization procedure, ix) handle available uncertainties in the decision-making procedure, and x) increase quality of care.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2017
Open Access Date: 24 April 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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