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Healthcare analytics research

Explore our work in healthcare analytics, 1 of our 8 areas of expertise in Operational Research and Logistics

Our healthcare analytics research provides decision makers in the healthcare sector with optimal strategies for treatment. This is particularly vital in helping them to make the best use of strained resources.

We can provide answers to important questions with real implications for the health of people around the world, for the care and treatment of patients, and for the wellbeing and effectiveness of medical staff, such as:

  • How many doctors, nurses or beds should be employed at different times in a hospital?
  • In which locations should new robotic devices for cancer treatment be placed, to reduce travel times, improve survival rates and minimise side-effects?
  • How can mosquitoes that spread viral infections be modelled – and, as a result, contained?
  • How can the need for blood supply in the event of a natural disaster be estimated – and how can we ensure the right blood types are available in the right quantities, to save more lives?

Our research has the potential to have far-reaching impacts: for example, a quality automated solution for nurse rostering could ensure that time and effort is used efficiently, that an even balance of workload is shared between people, and that individual personnel preferences could be satisfactorily met. The result could be a more contented workforce, resulting in higher productivity and better care.

Our work on optimally controlling the spread of dengue fever by mosquitoes not only reduces the number of fatalities in developing countries, but also reduces the unwanted social and environmental consequences of typical control actions such as over-usage of pesticides.

We benefit from academic staff with specialist expertise in both the theory and the practical application of such methodologies to healthcare. We also have the advantage of unique perspectives on modelling, gained by academics who've written seminal books in two fields.

Our work covers the following topics

  • Healthcare resource allocation
  • Nurse scheduling
  • Analytics for dentistry
  • Treatment optimisation
  • Infection and disease modelling
  • Blood supply modelling

Methods and facilities

We harness the combined expertise of Portsmouth's Centre of Operational Research and Logistics. We also make use of the University's simulation and optimisation software.

Healthcare analytics calls on a range of operational research methods including multi-criteria decision making, mathematical programming, simulation modelling, AI algorithms, and qualitative modelling.

Collaborations and partnerships

Our partnerships in the healthcare sector include a well-established relationship with Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, as well as a close partnership with the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy.

We have also built a wide range of international connections through collaborative projects with universities including Lille (France), Delft (Netherlands), State University of Sao Paulo and Federal University of Paraná (both Brazil) and The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Through EU-funded projects, we've also established good relationships with healthcare robotics and AI algorithm companies.


Recent funding highlights include:

  • A grant of around £160,000 from the European Union (2 Seas Interreg scheme) to work on the programming and location of robotic devices for prostate cancer treatment.
  • A Royal Society grant of around £10,000 to work with The Chinese University of Hong Kong and stakeholders, to model Chinese blood supply chains in cases of earthquakes.
  • Sponsored visits to Brazil, courtesy of the Sao Paulo Funding Agency, Brazil and Brazilian universities (c.£10,000) to research various topics including modelling and control of dengue mosquitoes.

Projects and publications

Our research is published in European Journal of Operational Research, IMA Journal of Management Mathematics, Pequisa Operational (a Brazilian Operations Research Journal)and Journal of the Operational Research Society. Findings from our research have also been covered in several trade journals, and by media outlets including the i newspaper.

Recent project highlights

The Cooperative Brachytherapy (CoBra) project – analysis of a large number of prostate cancer cases in order to enhance access to innovative treatment

Combining simulation and goal programming for healthcare planning in a medical assessment unit
Working with Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, to model their medical assessment unit (plus similar work with a Chinese hospital on bed allocation)

Genetic algorithm for optimization of the Aedes aegypti control strategies
Working with Brazilian universities on models for interventions against the dengue virus

Discover our areas of expertise

Healthcare analytics is 1 of our 8 areas of expertise in the Operational Research and Logistics research area. Explore the others below.

Decision and data analytics

Research in the design of decision support systems, and use of data analysis, to help people make better decisions through a better understanding of their data.

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Exact and metaheuristic solution methods

Heuristic and metaheuristic techniques are powerful and flexible research methodologies that offer a faster way of solving complex logistical challenges.

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Multiple criteria decision aid

Approaching complex problems with conflicting criteria, or uncertain data, our research helps people make more informed decisions.

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Transportation and Maritime Systems

Our research focuses on developing innovative optimisation models and decision support systems, to help improve the mobility of people, goods and services.

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Optimisation Modelling

As well as improving business efficiency, we're enabling people to make optimal decisions that can lead to practices with enhanced economic, environmental or social benefits.

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Renewable Energy and Sustainability Analytics

Modelling to answer a host of questions, from how to produce renewable energy more cheaply, to how the associated logistics can be sustainable.

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Risk and security analytics

We help organisations learn from failures, so they can improve the quality and resilience of their operations, and we develop new analytic approaches to detect security threats.

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Research groups

Centre for Operational Research and Logistics

We're using our expertise in analytics, system design, simulation, programming, and forecasting to help organisations around the world make better decisions.

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Operational Research and Logistics

We're researching how we can apply quantitative methodologies to improve decision-making across a range of diverse fields of application.

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Centre for Healthcare Modelling and Informatics (CHMI)

We're working to develop technology that makes work more efficient for the organisations that form the National Health Service (NHS).

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Interested in a PhD in Operational Research & Logistics?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Operational Research & Logistics postgraduate research degrees page.