Saturday, May 28, 2016

The VA and TSA Have the Same Problem - The Long Wait Problem

The recent reporting on TSA airport screening lines and VA medical care wait times seem to have the same problem - - growth in demand for services (i.e., more people flying and aging/10-years of constant war veteran demographics) without a growth in service capabilities.  Both problems need more industrial engineering and less politics.  Correct me if I am wrong but is airport security throughput more a function of physical space (i.e.  X number of airport entry points with Y number of screening stations) than people?  Engineering needs to study the three Ps of the screening problem - - people, processes, and places (i.e., entry points).  The problem is not just more people.  The VA problem is different - - having to wait six weeks to see a doctor is more a function of the limited supply of doctors and medical professionals than process or facility constraints.  The limiting constraint to seeing my doctor or dentist over the next three weeks is the number of minutes in the day - - one doctor or dentist can only see X number of patients in a 24-hour period.  The VA probably has a "more people" problem.  More professional medical staff in more places with better processes would increase system throughput.

The VA, TSA, and most part of government operations all have the same problem - - the long wait problem.

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