IEE 498/598 - OR in Hospitals - Arizona State University - Teresa Wu (School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Sciences Engineering)

By Teresa Wu

Arizona State University

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Health care expenditures in the US constitute 16 % of GDP. This high amount of share places the US into the second position (after East Timor) in the ranking of the United Nations member nations with respect to the percentage of total income in the nation spent on health care. This percentage is expected to increase up to 19.5% by the year 2017.

According to one analysis on international spending levels in 2000, it is found that even though the US spends more on health care expenditures compared to any other country in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the level of use of the health care services is below the OECD median according to most of the measures of consideration*. Furthermore, the authors of the study revealed that the prices paid for accessing to the health care services are significantly higher in the U.S.

Due to the aforementioned facts and findings, health care managers have recently concentrated on seeking ways to reduce costs by improving system efficiency. This will also improve the access for patients to health care specialists while improving the quality of care. To achieve these ideals, health care managers need to benefit from quantitative and analytical techniques during their efforts to solve potential managerial problems. In this process, they can particularly benefit from Operations Research (OR) techniques to model the problems, analyze them using the techniques of OR and develop solution tools based on the insights they get after the analysis.

*(Gerard F. Anderson, Uwe E. Reinhardt, Peter S. Hussey and Varduhi Petrosyan, "It's The Prices, Stupid: Why The United States Is So Different From Other Countries", Health Affairs, Volume 22, Number 3, May/June 2003. Retrieved February 27, 2008)


The focus of this course is intended to be on the use of Quantitative techniques for conducting analysis on the problems related to the management of health care organizations. Students taking this course, particularly, will be able to get answers for the following type of questions:
1)What problems do health care organizations face that can be solved or analyzed using quantitative/IE methods?
2)How to model a managerial problem of a health care organization to benefit from quantitative/IE methods?
3)How to select a technique among all quantitative/IE techniques to be used to solve the model developed for the managerial problem of a health care organization?
4)How to apply the selected quantitative/IE techniques while solving the managerial problem of a health care organization?


Viviane Moreira

University of Toronto