UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome Avi Seidmann, University of Rochester, to host a research seminar discussing ‘Service systems with heterogeneous customers: Investigating the effect of telemedicine on patient care’
Please note: This seminar will take a different format to usual. Instead of a 1.5 hour seminar, there will be a 1 hour seminar, followed by an interactive session in which Avi will be sharing some material on his approach about the Experiential Learning Approach to MBA teaching. For this additional session, you are asked to each bring a laptop.
Medical specialists treating chronic conditions typically face a heterogeneous set of patients. Such hetero-geneity arises because of differences in medical conditions as well as the travel burden each patient faces to visit the clinic. We investigate the impact of patient heterogeneity on the strategic behavior of medical specialists in terms of their operating decisions. In addressing this problem, we expand current results in queuing theory related to the service speed-quality trade-off for both revenue-maximizing and welfare-maximizing servers. We find that as the relative travel burden increases for the patients, it also has a negative effect on the productivity of the specialists and their expected income. Comparing the optimal service characteristics of revenue-maximizing and welfare-maximizing specialists, we see that the former will serve a smaller patient population, have shorter waiting times, and operate at a lower utilization. We also analyze the impact of telemedicine technology on patient utility and the specialists’ operating decisions. We prove that with the introduction of telemedicine the revenue-maximizing specialists become more productive and their service rates will move closer to the socially optimal one. Although the enhanced access to specialist care increases the overall social welfare, we explain why some patients, unexpectedly, will be even worse off with the introduction of telemedicine technology. Our analytical results lead to some important policy implications for facilitating the further deployment of telemedicine in the care of chronically ill patients.