News

New decision model shapes strategies for dealing with public health emergencies

The timely results of a long-term project helps health experts with the allocation of healthcare resources
Laboratiorioväline

The efficient allocation of medical resources can be modelled mathematically, as shown by Finnish researchers. The study, which started a few years before coronavirus appeared, offers timely insights for governments and organizations who are faced with an unprecedented healthcare crisis. Specifically, it presents a comprehensive decision model for optimizing the use of alternative tests and treatments on specific population groups, and suggests that even less-than-perfect tests can help improve effective spending limited healthcare resources.

Decision scientists have developed models to help governments and policymakers allocate limited healthcare resources. The decision model developed by Aalto researchers accounts for differences between population segments and shows that segment-specific strategies for tests and treatments are crucial for attaining positive health outcomes, especially when there is limited capacity for treatments. ‘When we were revising the paper just a few months ago, we never thought how soon the framework would become so relevant’ says Professor Ahti Salo Director of the Systems Analysis Laboratory at Aalto University.

All health outcomes benefit from stopping the disease spreading

The paper, published in the journal Decision Sciences, shows how healthcare resources can be spent to achieve different population-level objectives, such as the “utilitarian” objective (which focuses on maximizing the aggregate health of the whole population) and the “egalitarian” objective (which gives priority to the neediest while limiting differences between segments). The decision model helps policymakers balance these two objectives, and shows how they can be attained by allocating resources accordingly.

The research was carried out before the Covid19 outbreak and the data for illustrating the model is actually about coronary heart disease. As a result, the model is not directly adapted to contagious diseases, although the group will consider this in their future work. However, contagiousness does not alter the relevance of the model regarding testing.  ‘Adding contagion into our model most likely increases the value of all forms of testing, as all health outcomes benefit from stopping the disease spreading’ said Professor Salo.

Further information:

Operationalization of utilitarian and egalitarian objectives for optimal allocation of healthcare resources, Yrjänä Hynninen, Eeva Vilkkumaa, Ahti Salo, Decision Sciences DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/deci.12448

Contact

Eeva Vilkkumaa
Assistant Professor
Aalto University
[email protected]
+358 50 309 8630 

Ahti Salo
Professor
Aalto University
[email protected]
+358 50 383 0636

Yrjänä Hynninen
[email protected]
+358 50 407 5320

  • Published:
  • Updated:
Share
URL copied!

Related news

Network for Business Sustainability logo
Research & Art Published:

Jouni Juntunen nominated to Network for Business Sustainability Sustainability Centres Community (SCC) Advisory Board

Jouni Juntunen has been nominated to Network for Business Sustainability Sustainability Centres Community (SCC) Advisory Board for a three year period starting from 2021.
Matti Kummu, kuva Maija Taka
Research & Art Published:

Academy of Finland funding for research into securing Finland's food supply 

Professor Matti Kummu considers it important for Finland to prepare for future disruptions in the global food system and develops measures for improving the resilience in the face of such disruptions.  
ISM Research Xmas Calendar
Research & Art Published:

The Department of Information and Service Management (ISM) has launched a digital research calendar

The calendar showcases current and versatile research done at the department.
Saija Hollmén istumassa lattialla risti-istunnassa värikkäiden afrikkalaisten kankaiden päällä.
Research & Art Published:

Doctoral thesis: Humanitarian architecture creates security and protection in the midst of poverty and crises

When global crises drive people out of their homes, multidisciplinary cooperation can help make something out of very little.