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Patients’ Prioritization on Surgical Waiting Lists: A Decision Support System

Fabián Silva-Aravena (), Eduardo Álvarez-Miranda (), César A. Astudillo (), Luis González-Martínez () and José G. Ledezma ()
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Fabián Silva-Aravena: Doctorado en Sistemas de Ingeniería, Faculty of Engineering, Universidad de Talca, Curicó 3340000, Chile
Eduardo Álvarez-Miranda: School of Economics and Business, Universidad de Talca, Talca 3460000, Chile
César A. Astudillo: Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering, Universidad de Talca, Curicó 3340000, Chile
Luis González-Martínez: Doctorado en Sistemas de Ingeniería, Faculty of Engineering, Universidad de Talca, Curicó 3340000, Chile
José G. Ledezma: Departamento de Planificación y Control de Gestión, Hospital Regional de Talca, Talca 3460000, Chile

Mathematics, 2021, vol. 9, issue 10, 1-27

Abstract: Currently, in Chile, more than a quarter-million of patients are waiting for an elective surgical intervention. This is a worldwide reality, and it occurs as the demand for healthcare is vastly superior to the clinical resources in public systems. Moreover, this phenomenon has worsened due to the COVID-19 sanitary crisis. In order to reduce the impact of this situation, patients in the waiting lists are ranked according to a priority. However, the existing prioritization strategies are not necessarily systematized, and they usually respond only to clinical criteria, excluding other dimensions such as the personal and social context of patients. In this paper, we present a decision-support system designed for the prioritization of surgical waiting lists based on biopsychosocial criteria. The proposed system features three methodological contributions; first, an ad-hoc medical record form that captures the biopsychosocial condition of the patients; second, a dynamic scoring scheme that recognizes that patients’ conditions evolve differently while waiting for the required elective surgery; and third, a methodology for prioritizing and selecting patients based on the corresponding dynamic scores and additional clinical criteria. The designed decision-support system was implemented in the otorhinolaryngology unit in the Hospital of Talca, Chile, in 2018. When compared to the previous prioritization methodology, the results obtained from the use of the system during 2018 and 2019 show that this new methodology outperforms the previous prioritization method quantitatively and qualitatively. As a matter of fact, the designed system allowed a decrease, from 2017 to 2019, in the average number of days in the waiting list from 462 to 282 days.

Keywords: waiting list; elective surgery; decision support system; psychosocial support systems; prioritization and vulnerability; biopsychosocial criteria (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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