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Journal Articles

A Model for Planning Resource Requirements in Health Care Organizations

1998, Decision Sciences

Kurt M. Bretthauer, M. Côté


n this paper we present a general model and solution methodology for planning resource requirements (i.e., capacity) in health care organizations. To illustrate the general model, we consider two specific applications: a blood bank and a health maintenance organization (HMO). The blood bank capacity planning problem involves determining the number of donor beds required and determining the size of the nursing and support staff necessary. Capacity must be sufficient to handle the expected number of blood donors without causing excessive donor waiting times. Similar staff, equipment, and service level decisions arise in the HMO capacity planning problem. To determine resource requirements, we develop an optimization/queueing network model that minimizes capacity costs while controlling customer service by enforcing a set of performance constraints, such as setting an upper limit on the expected time a patient spends in the system. The queueing network model allows us to capture the stochastic behavior of health care systems and to measure customer service levels within the optimization framework.


Bretthauer, K. and M. Côté (1998), "A Model for Planning Resource Requirements in Health Care Organizations," Decision Sciences, Vol. 29, pp. 243-270.