A framework for operational modelling of hospital resources
Harper, P. R. (2002). A framework for operational modelling of hospital resources. [Journal Article; Methodological Paper]. Health Care Manag Sci, 5(3), 165-173.
The provision of hospital resources, such as beds, operating theatres and nurses, is a matter of considerable public and political concern and has been the subject of widespread debate [1,2,31. The political element of healthcare emphasises the need for objective methods and tools to inform the debate and provide a better foundation for decision-making. There is considerable scope for operational models to be widely used for this purpose. An appreciation of the dynamics governing a hospital system, and the flow of patients through it, point towards the need for sophisticated capacity models reflecting the complexity, uncertainty, variability and limited resources. Working alongside managers and clinicians from participating hospitals, this paper proposes a generic framework for modelling of hospital resources in the light of perceived user-needs and real-life hospital processes. The proposed framework incorporates the need for patient classification techniques to be adopted, which forms a key differentiator between this approach and other attempts to produce practical capacity planning and management tools. Statistically and clinically meaningful patient groupings may then be fed into developed simulation models and individual patients from each group passed through the particular hospital system of concern. The effectiveness of the framework is demonstrated through the development and use of an integrated hospital capacity tool.