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Improving patients' satisfaction through more effective utilization of operating rooms resources: An informational‐based perspective

José Ferreira (Hospital de São Teotónio EPE, Viseu, Portugal)
Carlos Gomes (School of Economics, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal)
Mahmoud Yasin (Department of Management & Marketing, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, USA)

Clinical Governance: An International Journal

ISSN: 1477-7274

Article publication date: 18 October 2011




This paper aims to present an applied research effort aimed at re‐engineering the utilization practices of operating rooms for a public Portuguese hospital. This re‐engineering effort is motivated by the desire to enhance the patient‐orientation of the hospital. The role of information systems in facilitating such organizational change is also to be examined.


Actual data are used to simulate outcomes of three different operational scenarios related to the utilization of operating rooms and surgical teams. As such, the critical constraint related to surgical capacity is relaxed under different utilization scenarios.


Based on the findings of the study, it appears that there is no conflict between operational efficiency and patient satisfaction. Well‐designed operational changes can lead to both efficiency and patient satisfaction benefits. This, in turn, can translate into competitive strategic advantage for the hospital.

Research limitations/implications

The simulation results derived from this applied research are positive. In general, they tend to point to potential operational and strategic benefits to the hospital and its patients. Although the simulation model used in this study was validated using actual data, more research is needed to test its general applicability. Such research should shed more light on the interrelationships which exist within the hospital operating system.

Practical implications

The approach advocated in this research has operational and strategic relevance to healthcare policy makers and hospitals' administrators. In this context, the role of the information systems in providing information relevant to tracking and improving a hospital's performance is emphasized.


The paper presents a practical, applied, systematic approach toward enhancing operational effectiveness in healthcare organizations. It draws on bodies of knowledge pretending to system theory, simulation and operations management in order to improve the short‐term performance of hospitals.



Ferreira, J., Gomes, C. and Yasin, M. (2011), "Improving patients' satisfaction through more effective utilization of operating rooms resources: An informational‐based perspective", Clinical Governance: An International Journal, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 291-307.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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