Operations Research Applications in the Health Care Industry:
Why don't more O.R. professionals work in Health Care?

Professor Michael Carter

University of Toronto

Dept. of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering


Health Care is the number one industry in Canada; bigger than automotive, telecommunications or steel. Total spending in 2000-01 was over $97.6 billion up 7.6% from the previous year, ($3,174 per person) [Health Canada: August 2001] or close to 10% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In the U.S., spending is over one trillion dollars US, over 14% of the GDP. The US spends far more than any other country (as a percent of GDP). Health care systems all over the world are in the midst of a serious financial crisis, and the situation will likely get worse in the next few years. Demand is going up as the population ages, and costs are increasing as the drugs and technologies continue to get more complex and expensive. Of course, it would help if there were more money available. However, I also strongly believe that the health care industry could be run a lot more efficiently. Operations research is planning, coordinating, controlling and evaluating the use and allocation of health care resources. The goals are quality improvement, cost containment, greater effectiveness and increased efficiency. In this talk, I will describe a variety of practical examples of projects that I have been involved in, and I will discuss some of the opportunities for future work.

Biographical Notes

Michael Carter is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. He received his PhD in Mathematics (Combinatorics and Optimization) from the University of Waterloo in 1980. He has been active in scheduling and optimization since 1972. His algorithms for examination timetabling are being used at Waterloo, Montreal (H.E.C.), Carleton, London School of Economics, the University of Western Ontario, Limerick University in Ireland and the University of Otago in New Zealand. He has won the Practice Prize for the outstanding application of Operations Research from the CORS three times (1988, 1992 and 1996) and he won the CORS Award of Merit in 2000. Beginning around 1989, his major research focus has been in the area of healthcare resource modelling with a variety of projects at hospitals, home care and mental health institutions. He has supervised more than 100 students on over 70 projects in the health care industry over the past 15 years.

Nov. 1, 2004

Park Town Hotel, South Dining Room, Main floor

Cocktails 5:30, Dinner 6:00, Presentation 7:00

Tickets $17

For more information contact:

Winfried Grassmann 966-4898 grassman@cs.usask.ca