"Operations management in Home Health Care: qualitative analysis and districting approach"
24 juin 2010, 14h en D401
Benzarti Emna LGI, Ecole Centrale Paris
The Home Health Care (HHC) is defined as “the medical and paramedical care delivered to patients at their home.” This type of hospitalisation aims at maintaining or improving the welfare of patients while reducing operations related costs. However, despite the importance of this care structure’s type, the number of studies dealing with the organization of the care delivery within the HHC context is very modest. In this work, we develop a qualitative analysis identifying the complexity factors that the operations management domain has to face up within the home health care structures. After that, we discuss how each complexity factor can affect the organization of the care delivery. The objective of this qualitative approach consists in emphasizing the specificities of this type of structures that must be considered for developing innovative approaches in order to better organize the delivery of care by improving the service quality towards the patients as well as care providers while reducing the operation costs. We also review the operations management models proposed in the literature within the home health care context. Based on this literature review, we point out the issues, relevant from an organizational point of view, that have not been yet treated in the literature and thus represent unexplored opportunities for operations management researchers. Among these issues, we are interested in the districting approach which consists in grouping small geographic areas into larger clusters called “districts” in a way that these latter are “good” according to relevant criteria. These criteria are: the indivisibility of basic units, the respect of administrative boundaries, the accessibility of the districts, the compactness and the workload equilibrium where the travel time represents an important component of care providers’ working time. Finally, we present a set of scenarios that differ according to the importance given to the travel time and “direct care” workload by the decision-makers.