A group of undergraduate Fisher College of Business students has undertaken the most ambitious project yet for the college’s Buckeye Operations Management Society – and one not far from home.
Students recently presented results of a year-long project within the gastrointestinal oncology unit of the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. The goal was to make improvements in an area that has long dogged health care as a customer service concern: Patient wait time.
Out of the 70 students in BOMS, which the Center for Operational Excellence supports annually, seven took on the effort. Pictured, from left to right, are Nick Caminiti, Ruizhi Wang, Spencer Shewbridge, Tanner Congleton, project lead Tyler Kururza, and Molly Vlahakis. Not pictured is Junyi Xiong.
As in many hospitals and health-care providers’ offices, patients at the James were spending too long in the system from arrival to departure. Students not only targeted a decrease in total wait time but an increase in time spent with health-care providers. To accomplish this, they spent months gathering data at the James, feeding this information into simulations of the process, helped along the way by Dave Schilling, a professor of management sciences at Fisher.
In a hospital, even a manufacturing line, the solution is a lot more complex than “Faster!” The BOMS students in the process calculated the takt, or cycle, time of a patient through the system and pinpointed its true capacity, even determining when capacity levels would require new hires. These measures and the simulation were used to devise an alternative in patient routing.
The result: Students were able to create a new path that could boost the level of patients seen by as much as 25 percent, while increasing the amount of time a patient spent with a doctor or nurse practitioner by up to an impressive 75 percent. These recommendations were passed on to the James.
BOMS adviser Andrea Prud’homme, an assistant clinical professor of management sciences and an associate director of the Center for Operational Excellence, said the project marks a milestone for the student organization. BOMS students previously have tackled projects at Royal Building Products, Avon, the MidOhio Foodbank, and others – but none of this scale and with this level of research.
“These students took on this project for no class credit or compensation and learned new simulation software, which has never been done before in a BOMS project,” Prud’homme said. “This is very impressive work and I’m extremely proud of them.”