Optimization of operating room allocation using linear programming techniques.
BACKGROUND: New and innovative approaches must be used to rationally allocate scarce resources such as operating room time while simultaneously optimizing the associated financial return. In this article we use the technique of linear programming to optimize allocation of OR time among a group of surgeons based on professional fee generation. STUDY DESIGN: For the period of December 1, 2000, to July 31, 2002, the following individualized data were obtained for the Division of General Surgery at Duke University Medical Center: allocated OR time (hours), case mix as determined by CPT codes, total OR time used, and normalized professional charges and receipts. Inpatient, outpatient, and emergency cases were included. The Solver linear programming routine in Microsoft Excel (Microsoft Corp.) was used to determine the optimal mix of surgical OR time allocation to maximize professional receipts. RESULTS: Our model of optimized OR allocation would maximize weekly professional revenues at 237,523 US dollars, a potential increase of 15% over the historical value of 207,700 US dollars or an annualized increase of approximately 1.5 million US dollars. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that mathematical modeling techniques used in operations research, management science, or decision science may rationally optimize OR allocation to maximize revenue or to minimize costs. These techniques may optimize allocation of scarce resources in the context of the goals specific to individual academic departments of surgery.
Kuo, PC; Schroeder, RA; Mahaffey, S; Bollinger, RR
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