Operating Room Capacity Planning Decisions

Operating rooms are important assets for hospitals as they generate the largest revenue and, at the same time, produce the largest cost for hospitals. The model presented in this paper helps make capacity planning decisions on the combination of open operating rooms (ORs) and estimated overtime to satisfy the allocated OR time to each specialty. The model combines both decisions on determining the amount of OR time to open and to allocate to different surgical specialties. The decisions made are based on OR costs, overutilization and underutilization costs, and contribution margins from allocating OR time. The results show the importance of having a good estimate of specialty usage of OR time to determine the amount of needed capacity and highlighted the tradeoff that the OR manager faces between opening more ORs versus extending the working time of the ORs already in use.