Some St. Clair College Data Analytics students have developed an innovative scheduling application to help address wait times for radiation therapy at Windsor Regional Hospital.
Under the direction of Program Coordinator John Ulakovich, data was provided on different types of treatments, their duration and the typical wait times for those treatments in 2019.
The students in the ‘Radiation Therapy Wait Time Optimization Project’ then created a detailed report which uncovered some interesting results.
“We could tell which days were the busiest, which treatments took the longest, and which treatments were completed most efficiently,” says Ulakovich.
Ulakovich praised the collaboration from the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre administrative team, in particular Laura D’Alimonte, Clinical Practice Manager for the Radiation Program who helped pull the raw data which was used to discern the information in hopes of improving the current processes - to the benefit of patients.
He also thanked Nicole Sbrocca, Director for the Cancer Program at WRH for her expertise in providing feedback to guide the project.
“They were both amazing to work with, they were so helpful in providing the support and data to our students and we received some great feedback,” he says. “The students were very appreciative and learned a lot.”
The objective of the project was to help ease the stress of patients waiting for radiation therapy and equally as important to optimize the schedule as much as possible.
For example, it found most Wednesdays, treatments were always on time therefore Ulakovich claims the hospital could likely add a few more appointments and optimize its schedule.
The application has been presented to the Radiation Department for possible follow-up for testing.
Another incentive to the application is its ability to send out e-mail notifications to patients if appointments are running late so a patient doesn’t have to wait in the waiting room longer than necessary.
“It helps them (patients) and takes out some of the stress of waiting because, for some people, waiting can be nerve-wracking,” he explains as most patients show up on time or early for their appointment.
For the students, Ulakovich notes the practical experience of undertaking such a project is invaluable because it takes what they have learned and applies it to the real world.
- Courtesy Windsor Regional Hospital