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Operational research

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A basic information on history and concept of Operational Research

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Operational research

  1. 1. OPERATIONAL RESEARCH Dr Menaal K JR II Department of SPM S. N. Medical College, Agra 22/07/14 1
  2. 2. IntroductionIntroduction • OR is tool of sociological science. • It has become one of the key management tools of modern times. • In operational research one is concerned all the times with the activities of a group of people with the purpose of inducing beneficial changes. 222/07/14
  3. 3. • During World War II, In 1937 • At Bawdsey Research Station in the UK • During the development of radar defense systems for the Royal Air Force • A. P. Rowe, a British Air Ministry official, constituted teams to do "operational researches" on the communication system and the control room at a British radar station. 22/07/14 3 HistoryHistory
  4. 4. • Physicist, P. M. S. Blackett • Blackett’s convinced the authorities of the need for a scientific approach to manage complex operations, and • He is regarded as the original operations research analyst and the 22/07/14 4
  5. 5. • Phillip Morse is widely regarded as the “Father" of O.R. in the United States 22/07/14 5
  6. 6. • The studies had to do with improving the operational efficiency of systems (an objective which is still one of the cornerstones of modern O.R.). • This new approach of picking an "operational" system and conducting "research" on how to make it run more efficiently soon started to expand into other arenas of the war.22/07/14 6
  7. 7. Operational Research in HealthOperational Research in Health • Provides decision-makers with information to enable them to improve the performance of their programs. • Helps to identify solutions to problems that limit program quality, efficiency and effectiveness, or to determine which alternative service delivery strategy would yield the best outcomes. 22/07/14 7
  8. 8. What is operational/operations research ?What is operational/operations research ? OR is defined as the systematic study by observation and experiment of the working of a system eg: health services, with a view to improvement. - John M Last in Dictionary of Epidemiology 22/07/14 8
  9. 9. Goals of Operational ResearchGoals of Operational Research • To increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of services delivered by providers, and the availability, accessibility, and acceptability of services desired by users. 22/07/14 9
  10. 10. ObjectiveObjective • To provide managers, administrators and policymakers with the information they need to improve existing delivery activities and plan future ones. • Central objective always is to obtain a better understanding of the “operations” of programs so that, needed improvements can be made.22/07/14 10
  11. 11. Categories of Operational Research StudiesCategories of Operational Research Studies 1. Diagnostic Studies/ Exploratory: Problem Not Known ▫ To determine the parameters of a problem situation before programming begins ▫ Whenever there is a perceived problem but the nature of the problem and the correct program responses to it are not known ▫ Search for programmatically manipulable variables ▫ Usually retrospective or cross sectional 22/07/14 11
  12. 12. Categories of Operational Research StudiesCategories of Operational Research Studies 2. Field Intervention Studies: Program Approach Not Known ▫ Test on an experimental basis new approaches to overcoming a probable problem ▫ Test new service delivery modes ▫ Studies are prospective 22/07/14 12
  13. 13. Categories of Operational Research StudiesCategories of Operational Research Studies 3. Evaluative studies: Impact Not Known ▫ For examining the effect of program activities ▫ Can be done retrospectively or cross- sectionally Note: •These three categories not mutually exclusive 22/07/14 13
  14. 14. Categories of Operational Research StudiesCategories of Operational Research Studies 4. Cost- effectiveness studies: Cost Effectiveness Not Known ▫ Are frequently a part of intervention and evaluation studies. Note: •These four categories not mutually exclusive 22/07/14 14
  15. 15. MethodsMethods • Qualitative methods include focus group discussions or individual interviews with service providers or clients or observational studies, e.g., observing health care workers. • Quantitative methods include structured questionnaires or the analysis of service statistics. 22/07/14 15
  16. 16. Benefits of operational researchBenefits of operational research • Improve Quality • Decrease in cost or investment • Increase revenue or return on investment • Achieve improved utilization form limited resources • Demonstrate feasibility and workability 22/07/14 16
  17. 17. Who does operational research ?Who does operational research ? • Any health care provider, including the public sector, NGOs • A team of program implementers and researchers. • Stakeholders should be involved as advisors 22/07/14 17
  18. 18. Some topics of OR studies- examplesSome topics of OR studies- examples 1. Training Programs: to examine the content and methods of training, or to compare one type of training approach against another in terms of field- worker knowledge and performance. 2. Management Information Systems: Studies can be designed to experiment with new data collection systems and to test new procedures for using the information collected to improve services. 22/07/14 18
  19. 19. Some topics of OR studies- examplesSome topics of OR studies- examples 3. Program Impact: OR studies can test prospectively and in field settings the impact of different approaches to service delivery, such as the use of community- based distributors (CBDs) or traditional birth attendants(TBAs). • Impact can be measured in many different ways by examining e.g. contraceptive prevalence, contraceptive continuation rates or increased availability and accessibility of services.22/07/14 19
  20. 20. Some topics of OR studies- examplesSome topics of OR studies- examples 4. Quality of Care: OR studies can be directed at evaluating the quality and acceptability of services offered to clients. These studies can provide an analysis of the current situation of health services. 5. IEC: OR studies can be designed to compare different communication approaches in terms of message understanding, message retention, cost-effectiveness, and the ability to reach specific target audiences. 22/07/14 20
  21. 21. How to carryout an OR ?How to carryout an OR ? 22/07/14 21
  22. 22. Steps of Operational Research:Steps of Operational Research: • It is a continuous process with five basic steps: 1. Problem identification and diagnosis 2. Strategy selection 3. Strategy testing and evaluation 4. Information dissemination 5. Information utilization 22/07/14 22
  23. 23. Step 1: Problem DiagnosisStep 1: Problem Diagnosis • Potential research situation arises when three conditions exist : i. Perceived discrepancy between what is and what should be ii. Question about why the discrepancy exists iii. At least two possible and plausible answers to the question 22/07/14 23
  24. 24. What to do in step 1 ?What to do in step 1 ? • Attempt at identifying the problem situation by using this format: ▫ Problem Situation ▫ Discrepancy ▫ Problem Question ▫ Possible Answers 22/07/14 24
  25. 25. ExampleExample • Problem Situation: District A is always flooded during the monsoon season. • Recognizing this problem, the national family planning program established a new supply logistics system for the district. Each pill user is given a four-month supply before the monsoon begins. • During the monsoon, small motorboats are available to transport new supplies to selected distribution centers accessible to village-level family planning workers. • Despite these new measures, this year service statistics indicated that there are no pill supplies in District A. 22/07/14 25
  26. 26. • Discrepancy: The new logistics system should be able to assure a continuous supply of pills, but this year there are no supplies. • Problem Question: Why has the new supply logistics system been incapable of delivering contraceptive pills to users? 22/07/14 26
  27. 27. Possible Answers: ▫An order for new pill supplies was not placed in time before the monsoon rains. ▫The riverboats used to transport the supplies are out of order. ▫Field-workers were not told about the new system and failed to give users a four-month supply of pills before the monsoon. 22/07/14 27
  28. 28. In this example:In this example: • There are several possible and plausible reasons for the problem situation • One or more of these reasons might be correct, and • At least two of the possible problems may be under the control of managers to fix: ordering drugs on time and improving maintenance of the boats. • Therefore, this is a potential research situation. 22/07/14 28
  29. 29. 5 basic steps5 basic steps 1. Problem identification and diagnosis 2. Strategy selection 3. Strategy experimentation and evaluation 4. Information dissemination 5. Information utilization 22/07/14 29
  30. 30. What to do in step 2 ?What to do in step 2 ? • Identify potential strategies that could be used to solve the program problem. • Indicate which one or more of the potential strategies are the most appropriate to solve the program problem- Let the problem determine the strategy 22/07/14 30
  31. 31. Guidelines for selection of strategyGuidelines for selection of strategy a. Review the strategies other people have used to solve similar program problems. b. Hold a meeting with the people who are most affected by the problem or most concerned with it. c. Look for strategies that can be implemented without overburdening the implementing institution. d. Select strategies that can be sustained over time. 22/07/14 31
  32. 32. Guidelines for selection of strategyGuidelines for selection of strategy e. Seek strategies that are simple to implement. f. Develop strategies where the proposed solution is under the control of program managers. g. Avoid strategies where the cost of a field test is higher than the expected benefits. h. Avoid strategies that are not consistent with the implementing institution's goals, objectives, and development plans. 22/07/14 32
  33. 33. 5 basic steps5 basic steps 1. Problem identification and diagnosis 2. Strategy selection 3. Strategy experimentation and evaluation 4. Information dissemination 5. Information utilization 22/07/14 33
  34. 34. What to do in step 3 ?What to do in step 3 ? • Write Ultimate Goals, Immediate Objectives, and hypotheses • Intervention Description ▫ Who will be responsible for implementation? ▫ Where will the intervention take place? ▫ What activities will be initiated at what level of intensity? • Operational definitions • Sampling and data collection • Data analysis 22/07/14 34
  35. 35. 5 basic steps5 basic steps 1. Problem identification and diagnosis 2. Strategy selection 3. Strategy experimentation and evaluation 4. Information dissemination 5. Information utilization 22/07/14 35
  36. 36. What to do in step 4 ?What to do in step 4 ? • Determine : ▫ Who are the potential users of the findings from the operations research study? ▫ Which particular findings will be of most interest to each potential user group? ▫ What are the best media channels to reach each potential user group? 22/07/14 36
  37. 37. 5 basic steps5 basic steps 1. Problem identification and diagnosis 2. Strategy selection 3. Strategy experimentation and evaluation 4. Information dissemination 5. Information utilization 22/07/14 37
  38. 38. What to do in step 5 ?What to do in step 5 ? ▫ Identify the organizations you believe will be most interested in the study. ▫ Discuss how you will involve these organizations in the various planning, implementation, analysis and dissemination stages of the study. ▫ Indicate the most likely policy or program implications to arise from the study. 22/07/14 38
  39. 39. Lets take an example:Lets take an example: • Problem Identification: In a State, there is a wide variation in the CPR in different villages. Although all villages get same level of health& FP services, some villages have a CPR of 80% while others have it as low as 5% • Immediate Objective: to study the social, economic& health factors associated with the variation in CPR 22/07/14 39
  40. 40. Lets take an example:Lets take an example: • Implication: the ultimate objective is to provide policymakers and program administrators with a better understanding of the reasons why the national FP program is successful in some areas but not in others. • This information will be used to develop educational strategies& modify existing service delivery approaches to uniformly raise the CPR in all regions 22/07/14 40
  41. 41. In Conclusion…In Conclusion… • Whenever social medicine passes from the stage of observation and classification to that of discovering and recommending appropriate action, it is involved in Operational Research 22/07/14 43
  42. 42. 22/07/14 44

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