Melbourne Health shows new approach to waiting list management


"Map Intelligence can deliver the multidimensional view hospital decision makers need to reduce time and cost of treatments and ensure that patient care is prioritized correctly."

Dr Christopher Bain, Information Srvcs Manager, Melbourne Health


melbhealthThe Royal Melbourne Hospital has used geospatial business intelligence platform Map Intelligence in a ground-breaking trial to help identify ways to better manage demand for emergency and elective services.

Melbourne Health, which operates the 340-bed RMH City Campus based in Parkville, is continually trying to optimize the allocation of resources to areas where they are most needed.


With no previous experience in the development of mapping systems, the Clinical Epidemiology and Health Service Evaluation Unit (CEHSEU) used Map Intelligence to create a geospatial application that allowed healthcare managers, analysts and clinicians to drill down and roll up through dynamic, web-based maps to view Microsoft Excel data in a geographic context.


The Map Intelligence application was used to provide comparative information about elective surgery waiting lists to managers and planners, in addition to traditional information delivery mechanisms such as tabular presentations and printed reports.


The CEHSEU at the hospital developed a survey to measure the users’ response to the map-based data presentation format.


Dr Christopher Bain, Melbourne Health’s Information Services Manager in the CEHSEU, says that Map Intelligence can deliver the multidimensional view hospital decision makers need to reduce time and cost of treatments and ensure that patient care is prioritised correctly.


“Health care managers and planners face an ongoing challenge to balance elective and emergency demand,” says Dr Bain, who has a background in both clinical medicine and information technology.
“This is especially the case in tertiary hospitals like the Royal Melbourne with a significant responsibility for trauma services and a geographically dispersed population to serve.”


Dr Bain said that a significant amount of work has been carried out both in Australia and overseas regarding the use of advanced technologies to assist in maintaining the balance between elective and emergency care, but that Map Intelligence offered ease of development and ease of use.


“In the current funding climate - with ever increasing pressures in relation to access and demand management - it is important to look at problems in multiple dimensions before making a decision,” Dr Bain said
“An incorrect decision can end up costing you time and money that could have been spent elsewhere. When you allocate resources strategically you not only utilise your resources to their full potential but also minimize the impact on hospital managers and patients trying to access that resource.


An intelligent mapping application can quickly reveal information such as where to base a satellite day surgery to provide access to most of a hospital’s catchment area. It can also identify the catchment itself.


“Despite being a pilot study, the strong positive feedback from medical and surgical specialists and waiting list managers was very encouraging and we are scoping further projects,” said Dr Bain.


“Everyone believed there were other environments in which the mapping approach would be useful.”


Pilot Study Survey Results
  • 80% preferred the way Map Intelligence presented the information over the tables, with only 20% rating the tabular format equal or higher than the map.
  • 100% of people who preferred the map view did so because of the visual presentation and clarity.
  • 100% thought there were other environments the mapping approach would be useful.


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