WA Health Hackathon 2023

Challenge 3: Non-Health Data and New Approaches for Emergency Department Planning

Challenge Statement: How could we use non-health data feeds and optimisation technologies to improve our operational planning for Emergency Departments?

Supporting Mentors

Pippa Blatchford – North Metropolitan Health Service 

Kym Rogers – North Metropolitan Health Service 

Wendy Wen – North Metropolitan Health Service 

Farhana Binte Halim – North Metropolitan Health Service 

Susan Power – North Metropolitan Health Service 

Linda Davies – 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: 

  • What non-health real-time datasets may provide an indication as to incoming patients (emergencies, atmospheric particulate levels, temperature levels, public event information etc.)?   
  • Ambulances are often a major method by which patients get to hospital. Can we better plan ambulance capacity to help Emergency Department patient flow?   
  • Is there a large variance in ambulance ramping across sites or are they usually all busy at the same time? Could evening out the variance improve ramping? Can we model the improvement from the data?    
  • Can we connect Emergency Department status to ambulance and traffic congestion indicators?    
  • Can we better monitor internal Hospital operations to help guide our operational planning?   
  • Can we better plan at a strategic level for the provision of the services through our Emergency Departments (hospital locations, funding levels, transportation planning etc.)? 

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 ambulance and Emergency Department processes 
  • Current Emergency Department and hospital level operational planning approaches 
  • Current strategic planning approaches for hospital planning and resource assignment 


A lot of the questions, data and approaches relevant to Challenges 1 and 2 may also be usefully applied for Challenge 3. 

Supporting Data Sets 

While EDDC and HMDC will be useful to help resolve this Challenge there are also a raft of other external data sets that could be powerfully used here. For example: 

  • Traffic congestion data coming from Main Roads or Mapping tools. 
  • Social media information tracking events and issues. 
  • Weather forecasts 
  • Event forecasts 

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: 

  • Consider dynamic modelling and visualisation of hourly Emergency Department presentations.   
  • Spatial models indicating important relationships affecting patient flow.  
  • Dashboards and visualisations of environmental situations that may affect an Emergency Department – both real time and descriptive.  
  • Statistical models of major drivers for Emergency Department performance. 
  • Simulations of system-wide health system performance.  
  • Initial optimisation models indicating the levers affecting Emergency Department patient flow.  
  • System-wide models of the health system.