Efficient healthcare logistics with a human touch

Efficient healthcare logistics with a human touch

Operations research for healthcare delivery in New Zealand: two case studies


The application of operations research to healthcare delivery is still in its infancy

in New Zealand, with considerable potential for improvement in many areas.

This talk will discuss two case studies. The first is improvement of patient flow

through the cardiovascular intensive care unit at Auckland City Hospital in the

Auckland District Health Board. This involved both capacity planning and

nurse rostering to reduce cancellations of electives. The second case study

is a project to reduce the time from first referral to first treatment for four streams

of cancer patients at North Shore Hospital in the Waitemata District Health

Board. The emphasis here was on identifying bottlenecks in the system and

then suggesting possible solutions.


Ilze Ziedins is Head of the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Her PhD is from the University of Cambridge, and before returning to New Zealand she held a research fellowship at Cambridge and a lectureship at Heriot-Watt University. She was also a frequent visitor to AT&T Bell Labs (latterly Lucent Technologies). Ilze's research interests are in the modelling, analysis and optimization of stochastic networks. Initially much of her research was driven by telecommunications applications, but latterly her applied work has concentrated on healthcare delivery.

She has worked with Auckland and Waitemata District Health Boards on improving health care delivery. Ilze also has a long standing interest in stochastic dynamic games and queueing theory, and the paradoxical behaviours that can arise with selfish routing.

Ilze Ziedins