Rural Transportation System Design for Omnichannel Healthcare

Long travel distances and a lack of healthcare facilities provide significant challenges for healthcare in rural areas. Telehealth (online) platforms provide new care options, and omnichannel, or multichannel, healthcare supply chains provide healthcare consumers with choices such as traveling to a hospital or clinic, using telehealth from home, or using conveniently located telehealth kiosks. This research investigates design of a network of telehealth kiosks that can reduce the rural resident travel distance and time, and thereby improve rural healthcare access. The focus is on optimally designing such a network, including determining the number and locations of kiosks. The research team uses data-driven analytical modeling to assess coverage, travel distance and time, and costs for rural residents to reach a kiosk or other healthcare facility. The team considers options with both unstaffed kiosks that provide teleconsultation, as well as kiosks that have scheduled periodic staffing from health professionals (e.g., once every two weeks, or once a month). The team also considers an option to use drones (UAVs) to deliver supplies and medications to telehealth kiosks, thereby providing near-immediate availability of a wide range of medical supplies and medicines. The research first develops strategic analytical models using continuous approximation methods to assess the optimal number of telehealth kiosks to deploy and their dependence on the key costs and healthcare coverage. The team then develops tactical discrete mixed integer linear programming (MILP) models for designing a telehealth kiosk network and apply the models using data for a rural region of Missouri.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $174238
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      Mid-America Transportation Center

      University of Nebraska-Lincoln
      2200 Vine Street, PO Box 830851
      Lincoln, NE  United States  68583-0851
    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Missouri, St. Louis

      1 University Boulevard
      St. Louis, MO  United States  63121-4400
    • Principal Investigators:

      Campbell, James

      Akenroye, Temidayo

      Enayati, Shakiba

      Li, Haitao

    • Start Date: 20230601
    • Expected Completion Date: 20240731
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01908400
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Mid-America Transportation Center
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3552348307
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Feb 19 2024 6:17PM