Towards facilitated optimisation: A case study in mental health service provision

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Tuesday 05 December 2023

01:00 PM - 02:00 PM


JA105, Jaguar Building, Coventry University

Event details


Mental healthcare services in England are routinely facing issues relative to scarcity of available resources, inequities in their distribution, and inefficiencies in their use. The COVID19 pandemic has further exacerbated these issues. This talk presents a study for the evaluation and redesign of a Primary Care Mental Health (PCMH) service located in Kent, UK.

To address this problem, we propose an analytics-driven approach that integrates the three stages of descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics with an optimisation model. To ensure stakeholder engagement throughout the project lifecycle, we develop a novel participatory framework, named PartiOpt, which provides a structured process for developing optimisation models by involving stakeholders through facilitated workshops.

The findings of our participatory, analytics-driven approach demonstrate the benefits of utilising optimised workforce planning to reduce unmet patient demand and streamline the mental health service. The talk also discusses the potential applicability of the proposed approach to other care settings and the benefits of using the PartiOpt framework to build realistic and usable optimisation models, thus reducing the gap between theory and practice.


Maria Paola Scaparra is a Professor of Management Science at the University of Kent Business School, UK. Over the years, Paola held several leadership roles within the school, including Associate Dean of Research and Innovation, Head of the Management Science Group and Programme Director for the MSc Business Analytics. Paola holds an M.S. in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University and a PhD in Mathematics Applied to Economic Decisions from the University of Pisa, Italy.

Paola’s research focuses on the development of analytics tools and optimisation models for disaster management, humanitarian logistics, healthcare service planning, transportation planning and sustainable development. Recently, her research involved developing OR tools for solving intractable challenges in developing countries and contributing to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She has led several international, multi-disciplinary and consultancy projects, including projects funded by the British Academy, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Innovate UK. She is also a member of the General Council of the UK OR Society.