Enterprise-wide patient scheduling information systems to coordinate surgical clinic and operating room scheduling can impair operating room efficiency

  • Dexter F
  • Macario A
  • Traub R
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It may be considered obvious that EWPS should be used to permit referring physicians, clerks, and surgeons to evaluate surgeons' clinics and OR queues. This article showed, by highlighting relevant implications from the management sciences literature, that the well intentioned coordination of surgical clinic and OR scheduling may impair OR efficiency by causing oscillations in OR workload. These oscillations are easily generated by a number of factors related to the use of EWPS information to schedule patients. Currently available mathematical theory is inadequate to design control theory methods to schedule patients into surgeons' clinics in a manner that maintains OR efficiency. Our recommendation is that health care systems program these EWPS information systems to ensure that patients are referred to individual surgeons (i.e., scheduled into their surgical clinics) based on surgeons' expertise and availability of clinic appointments, not the availability of OR time.

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