This seminar will take place on January 26 at 15:30, online via Zoom (link below)
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Emergency medical services (EMS) play a vital role in delivering pre-hospital care. The operational efficiency of such services is critical and adequate demand forecasts can contribute to such a goal. But for that, the available data need to be well characterized before being used. Previous studies have failed to address some important aspects of this need, such as exploring a comprehensive list of contextual data to decide which are relevant to explain the EMS demand behavior. Moreover, modern forecasting techniques have been explored in the EMS context, including neural networks, but the computational complexity inherent to the methods and their use was not discussed. Finally, it is also unclear how different demand patterns can be when predicting the volume of emergency calls considering the priority level and the number of dispatches according to vehicle type. This study proposes a generic data-driven forecasting method to address these shortcomings and to support operational decisions. The results obtained with the proposed method indicate that each priority call and vehicle type shows different patterns, which suggests that such differentiation should contribute to better resource allocation. At the same time, the operational impact of the demand shared by neighboring zones proved to be significant at bases near the border. The models developed resulted in important decision tools that can be used to predict the dynamic demand of EMS on an hourly or shift basis. Additionally, the method adds value for decision-makers that want to plan not only when and how many but also where resources are demanded, avoiding assumptions that impact the operational performance.
Paulo Abreu is a Ph.D. student in Engineering and Management at Instituto Superior Técnico, where he also obtained a MSc degree in Industrial Engineering and Management. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. His interests are focused on Operations Management of Emergency Medical Services, and currently he is collaborating on an R&D project related with this topic.