Data-driven Decisions in Service Systems

Song-Hee Kim

Data-driven Decisions in Service Systems
Kim, Song-Hee
Thesis Advisor(s):
Whitt, Ward
Ph.D., Columbia University
Industrial Engineering and Operations Research
Persistent URL:
This thesis makes contributions to help provide data-driven (or evidence-based) decision support to service systems, especially hospitals. Three selected topics are presented. First, we discuss how Little's Law, which relates average limits and expected values of stationary distributions, can be applied to service systems data that are collected over a finite time interval. To make inferences based on the indirect estimator of average waiting times, we propose methods for estimating confidence intervals and for adjusting estimates to reduce bias. We show our new methods are effective using simulations and data from a US bank call center. Second, we address important issues that need to be taken into account when testing whether real arrival data can be modeled by nonhomogeneous Poisson processes (NHPPs). We apply our method to data from a US bank call center and a hospital emergency department and demonstrate that their arrivals come from NHPPs. Lastly, we discuss an approach to standardize the Intensive Care Unit admission process, which currently lacks a well-defined criteria. Using data from nearly 200,000 hospitalizations, we discuss how we can quantify the impact of Intensive Care Unit admission on individual patient's clinical outcomes. We then use this quantified impact and a stylized model to discuss optimal admission policies. We use simulation to compare the performance of our proposed optimal policies to the current admission policy, and show that the gain can be significant.
Operations research
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Suggested Citation:
Song-Hee Kim, , Data-driven Decisions in Service Systems, Columbia University Academic Commons, .

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