WA Health Hackathon 2023

Challenge 2: Improving Surgical and Operational Planning

Challenge Statement: How can we improve our surgical and operational planning to reduce patient wait times?

Supporting Mentors

Darren Nelson – Department of Health 

Michael Wilcox – Department of Health 

Damian Worsdell – Department of Health 

Kym Rogers – North Metropolitan Health Service 

Julie Barry – North Metropolitan Health Service 

Wendy Wen – 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: 

  • Can we prioritise clinical planning considering availability of specialist health service across the State?    
  • How might we forecast demand on hospital admissions and surgical interventions over the next decade, categorised by Major Diagnosis Category/Diagnosis Related Group code, and admission status?   
  • Can we improve patient allocation consider metro vs rural patients?   
  • Can we better plan our resourcing to improve the wellbeing of our staff and patient outcomes?   
  • Could we better communicate projected theatre times and bed availability to other staff in our hospitals?   
  • How might we forecast bed and ward availability, and communicate projected bed availability to other staff in our hospitals?   
  • How would a 7-day hospital change the surgical waitlist? Would it be cost effective? (Rather than a weekday only approach). 

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 processes 
  • Patient types and methods of entry into  
  • Diagnosis processes 
  • Theatre processes 
  • Nursing process and ward scheduling 
  • Current resourcing challenges and processes 

Supporting Data Sets 

The Hospital Morbidity Data Collection (HMDC) contains a range of data sets relating to the type of care and procedures patients experienced. The HMDC include data on: 

  • Admission type 
  • Admission status 
  • Care type 
  • Date recordings of procedures 
  • Diagnosis categories 


The Emergency Department Data Collection (EDDC) will be very useful for this question.  


Find the outline of data against challenges here.

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: 

  • Statistical models to identify major causes of theatre times.  
  • Driver trees showing the proportion of  
  • Visualisation of theatre times and procedures.  
  • Visualisation of clinician and nurse availability.