We’re excited to announce that along with the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC), we have awarded two Postdoctoral Fellowships to the value of $452,422, as part of a jointly funded call for research in precision health. The fellowships will focus on improvements to surgical scheduling and reducing emergency department admissions.

Meet our new Fellows and learn about their research below:

Dr Zhenqiang Wu, University of Auckland

Dr Zhenqiang Wu

Developing a decision support system at ED triage for predicting health outcomes

Emergency department overcrowding is a major global healthcare issue. The consequences are well-established, usually affecting patients (poor outcomes), staff (stressed) and healthcare system (long length of stay). Without increases in the number of EDs and staff, an effective way is to optimise the use of existing resources. This study intends to develop a decision support system at ED triage time, to predict hospital admission and longer ED length of stay by using a wide range of routinely collected big data (DHBs Health Records System and MoH database). This system has the potential to meet the ED health target of a ‘shorter stay’ and ‘lower hospital admission rates’ by accurately identifying high-risk patients at an early stage of ED and making more effective interventions for them. If so, this decision support system can be widely used by ED triage assessors in the near future, with the potential to improve the quality of acute care. 24 months, $239,389.

Mr Thomas Adams, University of Auckland

Mr Thomas Adams

Improved surgical scheduling software

The aim is to develop software that schedules elective surgical sessions quickly and in a way that reduces the chances of the sessions running overtime. The software would use novel machine-learning techniques that incorporate historical surgery data to estimate the probability that sessions run overtime. Further research into improved prediction of surgery durations, for use in scheduling sessions, that utilises individual patient data would also be performed. 24 months, $213,033.

Congratulations to Zhenqiang and Thomas, and welcome to the PDH whānau – we look forward to learning more about your research as it unfolds.