The overall objective is to develop guidance for health services researchers and knowledge users regarding operations research methods to optimize healthcare delivery.

Specifically, this task force will (1) introduce the value of optimization methods in conducting research on healthcare systems and individual-level outcomes research; (2) describe problems for which operations research optimization methods are appropriate; and (3) identify good practices for designing, populating, analyzing, testing, and reporting high-quality research for optimizing healthcare delivery services at both the systems and individual level.


This guidance is important to the scientific field because current health economic and outcomes evaluation methods generally simulate different outputs based on known parameter distributions, yet do not provide guidance on optimal system design and optimal care pathways given system or resource constraints. Recently, there has been noticeable growth of studies applying simulation and optimization methods in health research and health system management. The feasibility and relevance of these methods to inform health system planning and decision making for improving system efficiency have been demonstrated (Ayvaci, Alagoz, Burnside, 2012; Ayer, Alagoz, Stout, 2012).

There is a great deal of interest in health applications within the operations research community. The annual meeting of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS - the largest professional society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research, management science, and analytics), has a specialized healthcare track, and INFORMS has recently established an annual satellite meeting exclusively dedicated to health applications. The Society for Medical Decision Making has also partnered with INFORMS at their annual conferences. INFORMS endorses the Inform Optimization Society. Several members of the proposed Optimization Task Force are members of these other organizations, which will facilitate incorporating the knowledge that has already taken place outside of ISPOR.


William Crown, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, OptumLabs, Boston, MA, USA

Kalyan S. Pasupathy, PhD, Faculty, Healthcare Policy & Research and Co-Scientific Director, Healthcare Systems Engineering Program, Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, Rochester, MN, USA

Leadership Group:

Nasuh C. Buyukkaramikli, PhD, Scientific Researcher, institute of Medical Technology assessment (iMTA), Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Maarten J. IJzerman, PhD, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology & Health Technology Assessment (HTA); Head, Department of Health Technology & Services Research, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands
Deborah Marshall, PhD, Canada Research Chair, Health Services & Systems Research; Arthur J.E. Child Chair in Rheumatology Research; Director, HTA, Alberta Bone & Joint Health Institute; Associate Professor, Department Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Alec Morton PhD, Professor of Management Science, Department of Management Science, Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
William V. Padula, PhD, MS, MSc, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy & Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA
Mustafa Y. Sir, PhD, Assistant Professor, Health Care Systems Engineering, Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, Rochester, MN, USA
Praveen Thokala, MASc, PhD, Research Fellow, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
Jonathan C. Tosh, PhD, Senior Health Economist, DRG Abacus, Manchester, UK
Peter Wong, PhD, MS, MBA, RPh, Principal, Compass Clinical Consulting, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA