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Efficiency evaluation for pooling resources in health care

Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Twente
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  • Biology
  • Medicine


Hospitals traditionally segregate resources into centralized functional departments such as diagnostic departments, ambulatory care centres, and nursing wards. In recent years this organizational model has been challenged by the idea that higher quality of care and efficiency in service delivery can be achieved when services are organized around patient groups. Examples include specialized clinics for breast cancer patients and clinical pathways for diabetes patients. Hospitals are struggling with the question of whether to become more centralized to achieve economies of scale or more decentralized to achieve economies of focus. Using quantitative Queueing Theory and Simulation models, we examine service and patient group characteristics to determine the conditions where a centralized model is more efficient and conversely where a decentralized model is more efficient. The results from the model measure the tradeoffs between economies of scale and economies of focus from which management guidelines are derived.

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