Simulation analysis of capacity and scheduling methods in the hospital surgical suite

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Title: Simulation analysis of capacity and scheduling methods in the hospital surgical suite
Author: Ballard, Sarah
Abstract: With health-care costs rising and an aging population, the health-care industry is progressively faced with the problem of growing demand and diminishing reimbursements. Hospital administration is often faced with a lack of quantifiable data regarding surgical suite capacity and the impact of adding new surgical procedures. With the inherent variation in surgery due to unique procedures and patients, accurately measuring maximum capacity in the surgical suite through mathematical models is difficult to do without making simplifying assumptions. Several hospitals calculate their operating room (OR) efficiencies by comparing total OR time available to total surgical time used. This metric fails to account for the required non-value added tasks between surgeries and the balance necessary for patients to arrive at the OR as soon as possible without compromising patient satisfaction. Since surgical suites are the financial engine for many hospitals and the decisions made with regard to the surgical suite can significantly impact a hospital’s success, this thesis develops a methodology through simulation to more accurately define current and potential capacity levels within the surgical suite. Additionally, scheduling policies, which schedule patients based on the variability of their surgical time as well as the implementation of flexible ORs capable of servicing multiple operation genres, are examined for individual and interaction effects with regard to surgical suite capacity, patient waiting times, and resource utilization. Through verification and validation, the model is shown to be an effective tool in representing patient flow and testing policies and procedures within the surgical suite. An application to the surgical suite at Chenango Memorial Hospital (Norwich, NY) illustrates the methodology and potential impacts of this research.
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Date: 2007-04

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