The THEA Award Project

The THEA Award Project

Tony O’Halloran and Aidan Mamo Cooney, Coláiste An Spioraid Naoimh Bishopstown, Cork

SFI Best Project Award winners SciFest@CIT 2018

THEA Award winners, SciFest National Final 2018

On Friday the 9th of November we were given the opportunity to represent ourselves, our school and our region at the SciFest National Final in Marino College, Dublin. This event represented a culmination of years of work. We were extremely excited to present our project, Applications of Queuing Theory to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

This project provides a mathematical model that can help optimise resource management and reduce waiting lists in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services system (CAHMS). It accomplishes this by simulating the results of potential policy changes which could affect the queue times. In order to build this model we first used queuing theory equations and then simulated with software to refine results. This system has many complexities grounded in the social sciences so using our combined fields of expertise we accounted for these in order to ensure that our model is as accurate as possible. We collected our data from reports that detailed the waiting lists for CAMHS and the breakdown of the time frame involved with waiting for access for those on the list. Our model suggests effective and practical solutions for example, it has shown that switching to a least utilization appointment system could reduce queue length by more than 80% without any additional costs. This approach is practical and highly suitable for use by policy makers in all fields to improve decision making and ultimately the care given to those who need it. Even when only very limited sets of information were used the results outputted closely assimilated the real data. The margin of error was within 1.4% even when it was only provided with one data set and the simulation is within another 0.1% of that. We succeeded in applying this model to 100% of the cases which we tested.

On the day we won Technological Higher Education Association award. SciFest has provided us both with such an amazing chance to produce work which we believe can have real, positive and important effect on society. We go forward with our work now with the aim to approach policy makers with so that we can ensure it is implemented. We hope that we can make a positive impact on the lives of people in our society and we are extremely grateful to SciFest for putting us in this position.

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