Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine
Bloomberg Children's Center
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
1800 Orleans Street
Baltimore, MD 21287
Dr. Jim Fackler might be considered an operational researcher within a hospital environment. One of his goals is to build a mathematical model of how patients flow through a hospital. For example, approximately half of patients who undergo surgery have been previously scheduled. These are patients who are expected and for whom resources can be appropriately prepared in advance. The other half of patients enter as emergency cases and therefore are less predictable. By modeling the external variability of the latter group, hospitals might become better able to predict the influx of emergency cases. Improvements in predictability would enable hospitals to optimize resource preparation and scheduling of elective procedures, thereby enhancing patient service.
Another research interest of Dr. Fackler is data acquisition and data mining in the operating room and intensive care unit. In the ICU, each patient has 300–350 associated data elements. Blood pressure, heart rate, potassium concentration, and hemoglobin level are just a few examples. Studies have shown that the human brain can comprehend 7 individual parcels of data at once. If the data can be sorted into patterns, an individual may be able to manage 7 individual patterns. Collaborating with some computer scientists and mathematicians, Dr. Fackler hopes to identify patterns among the patient data and establish recognizable trends that occur over time. The understanding of such patterns and trends could help clinical professionals to make more educated, evidence-based decisions on patient care.