University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, IL

Executive Summary

Cooperative-competitive, data-driven, operational strategies for emergency response systems in extremely resource-constrained settings in emerging economies

Centralized emergency medical service (EMS) systems are relatively recent developments in India and remain under-developed due to lack of sufficient resources. The severely resource-constrained environment leads to several challenges. First, maintaining a reasonably high service level is almost impossible. Second, the interdependence of the EMS system with transportation and hospital network systems results in unavoidable congestion and delays. Third, the relative novelty of emerging EMS systems leads to their superimposition on previously existing ad-hoc systems for emergency transportation, such as private taxis and hospital ambulances, resulting in competition and wastage of critical resources. Our project aims to improve service levels of EMS and humanitarian logistics systems, in such transitional economies, through novel systems-of-systems strategies, i.e., we propose ways to address these problems using a combination of engineering solutions, business solutions, and policy solutions.

The lead institution in this proposal is the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with Assistant Prof. Lavanya Marla as the PI. The lead foreign collaborator (Co-PI) from the Indian School of Business is Associate Prof. Milind Sohoni. Both the PI and co-PI bring their strengths in healthcare systems analysis and large-scale system optimization from the US and India. Both institutions bring unique strengths to this partnership, from both engineering and management perspectives. The project will leverage connections that both institutions have built with multiple EMS providers from various states in India, and will build data-driven solutions tailored to the situations of interest.

The primary objectives of this project include: 1) developing long-term research exchanges to address constraints in emergency medical systems, 2) developing joint curricula on the topic of operational interventions to improve health outcomes in extremely resource-constrained emerging economies, 3) conducting outreach programs for economic development and facilitating meaningful dialogue between policy-makers, emergency service providers, and welfare workers, and 4) creating guidance systems for entrepreneurs and policy makers seeking to innovate in public health operations in India.