The University of Winnipeg



AI assists in ER pilot project

Dr. Farzad Zaerpour is standing by a window and leaning on the wall with his arms crossed.

Dr. Farzad Zaerpour

Emergency rooms across the country, including Manitoba, are known for over-crowding and long wait times. According to the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System, there were almost 14 million unscheduled emergency department visits reported in Canada between April 2021 and March 2022 – up from over 11.7 million in 2020-2021.

The Victoria General Hospital Foundation and the Manitoba Medical Service Foundation, in collaboration with Dr. Farzad Zaerpour from the University of Winnipeg, are conducting research on how artificial intelligence (AI) can alleviate crowding in the emergency room.

Dr. Zaerpour, was awarded $27,150 for his project Artificial Intelligence in Modernizing Emergency Department: From Strategic Planning to Optimizing Operational Performance. The intention of the one-year pilot project is to demonstrate the potential of an AI-based patient flow model in addressing the challenges of emergency department crowding and improving emergency room efficiency. 

The issue of overcrowding in emergency rooms is a critical challenge faced by healthcare systems worldwide.

Dr. Farzad Zaerpour

“The issue of overcrowding in emergency rooms is a critical challenge faced by healthcare systems worldwide,” shared Dr. Zaerpour. “By leveraging AI technologies, we aspire to address this pressing issue by streamlining processes, reducing wait times, and enhancing overall efficiency. Ultimately, our research endeavors to contribute to the advancement of emergency healthcare delivery, benefiting both healthcare providers and patients alike.”

With this funding, the primary aim is to further develop and implement AI-driven solutions to alleviate overcrowding in emergency rooms. 

“Specifically, we intend to refine existing algorithms and technologies to optimize patient flow, reduce waiting times, and enhance overall efficiency within emergency care settings,” explained Dr. Zaerpour.

The first year of this project will include a comprehensive literature review on AI-based patient flow optimization in emergency departments, data preprocessing and artificial intelligence and machine learning model development. It will also include an initial patient flow analysis, a small-scale pilot test of the developed AI models and decision support systems in an emergency department, and a report to serve as a basis for future project planning.

Dr. Farzad Zaerpour is an Associate Professor at the Department of Business and Administration within the Faculty of Business and Economics at The University of Winnipeg. Dr. Zaerpour earned his Ph.D. in Operations Management from the Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He holds an M.Sc. in Supply Chain Management from the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Dr. Zaerpour has contributed significantly to the field of Operations Management through his publications in reputable peer-reviewed journals.


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