WA Health Hackathon 2023

Challenge 1: Patient Flow in Our Emergency Departments

Challenge Statement: How can we use our data to help improve patient flow through Emergency Departments in WA public hospitals without compromising care quality? 

Supporting Mentors

Anthony Osborough – North Metropolitan Health Service 

Darren Nelson – Department of Health 

Michael Wilcox – Department of Health 

Damian Worsdell – Department of Health 

Julie Barry – North Metropolitan Health Service 

Wendy Wen – North Metropolitan Health Service 

Farhana Binte Halim – North Metropolitan Health Service 

Susan Power – North Metropolitan Health Service 

Potential Focus Questions 

This is a complex Challenge and you may find it useful to consider the following questions when building out your prototype: 

  • How could we make the ED more efficient? Consider: triage, care delivery, discharge etc. How could we improve ED care quality and patient experience?   
  • Can we predict which patients could be suitable for a virtual consult at WA Virtual Emergency Department (WAVED)?   
  • Could we manage frequent Emergency Department users differently when they present at the Hospital?   
  • Consider patients presenting with mental health, alcohol, and drug related issues.   
  • Are all our departments busy at the same time or would having oversight of the system ease congestion by pointing patients to a less busy department?   
  • Can we better map and measure our patients journey through the ED? 

Critical Concepts 

Emergency Departments and Hospitals are incredibly complex organisations. You may want to talk to your Challenge Mentors about the following ideas as you developing you prototype: 

  • Basic Emergency Department Triage Process.  
  • Current approach and theory around Patient Flow.  
  • What is the Elective Surgery Waitlist?  
  • Current approaches to bringing in General Practitioners (GPs).  
  • Structure of the WA Health Network – HSPs, Hospital locations and types, Private vs Public. 

Supporting Data Sets 

The Emergency Department Data Collection (EDDC) has data elements for triage category, mental health admissions, and whether a patient was affected by alcohol or drugs. This dataset has been synthetically created by the Department of Health for the WA Health Hackathon 2023. 

The EDDC includes information about:  

  • Arrival time  
  • Triage time  
  • Doctor seen time  
  • Discharge time  
  • Bed request time  
  • Ward ready time  
  • Length of symptoms  
  • Clinical care commencement time  
  • Waiting time to clinical care to commence  
  • Flags indicating whether a GP’s earlier involvement could have helped  
  • Indications as to the criticality and acuteness of a patient presenting

Potential Solution Pathways 

You are free to resolve this Challenge by developing your prototype in whatever means you may like. Our mentors, partners and organising team have thought of the following techniques as being viable methods to resolve the Challenge: 

  • Simulation models of patient flow through an ED.  
  • Bayesian belief networks to identify factors affecting length of stay in an ED.  
  • Fuzzy cognitive maps to identify factors affecting length of stay in an ED.  
  • Statistical models identifying categories of patients, types of doctors, and locations which cause congestion in EDs.  
  • Predictive models provide a forecast as to ED congestion.  
  • Visualisation of patient flow through an ED.