Beyond Means: Unpacking Performance Variability

Zoom Research Seminar / 5th Floor EE Lecture 2

Past event — 26 June 2023

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Professor Hessam Bavafa

Associate Professor of Operations and Information Management

Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Little is known about how people-centric factors affect the shape of service time distributions, despite distributional statistics (variance or quantiles) being key drivers of system performance in many service industries. We investigate the impact of two people-centric factors - worker experience and fatigue - on the average, variance, and quantiles of service times in paramedic operations. Our analysis uses data on the performance of 368,634 paramedic teams in the London Ambulance Service over 10 years. The talk will be based on the two papers: “The Variance Learning Curve” and “The Distributional Impact of Fatigue on Performance”.


Hessam Bavafa is an Associate Professor of Operations and Information Management at the Wisconsin School of Business. He is an affiliate faculty at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. His recent projects, based on econometric analysis and stochastic optimization models, have focused on innovative technologies and service delivery models (e.g., telemedicine), people-centric and behavioral factors that affect performance (e.g., worker learning and fatigue), healthcare resource management (e.g., strategic revenue management of surgical portfolios), and quality management (e.g., pharmaceutical manufacturing). His research has been published in academic journals such as Management Science, Operations Research, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, Production & Operations Management, Journal of Operations Management, and Annals of Family Medicine. He serves as an Associate Editor for Management Science, Decision Sciences, and Health Care Management Science, a Senior Editor for Production & Operations Management, and a Guest Associate Editor for Manufacturing & Service Operations Management.

Professor Bavafa received his Ph.D. and master’s degrees in Operations Management from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014. He also holds a master’s degree in Operations Research from the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, and a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the Sharif University of Technology. He has worked with leading healthcare organizations such as the University of Pennsylvania Health System, the Provincial Health Services Authority of British Columbia, Veterans Health Administration, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, and British Columbia Children’s Hospital. He held a visiting position as Senior Innovation Strategist at the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation. He is also a moderator for the Health & Wellness Stream of the Creative Destruction Lab, which is a nonprofit organization focused on scalable, seed-stage, science- and technology-based startups.



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Bärbel Wegener

Assistant to Resident Faculty