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Holistic healthcare modeling A viewpoint on managing the complete patient care chain

Summary: Holistic healthcare modeling
A viewpoint on managing the complete patient care chain
Peter T. Vanberkel, Erwin W. Hans
University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands
In the `80s, the reductionist method made famous by F.W. Taylor caused manufacturing industry
to lose perspective of their overall factory. The approach, which focuses principally on analyzing
individual components, fails to accurately account for their interactions. This narrow view was
further compounded by the academic community which thrived on using reductionism for
analyzing complex systems, ever the while increasing the gap between their research and actual
practice. Throughout the `90s and still today, manufacturing is increasingly focusing on the
entire supply chain. In healthcare this evolution is lagging.
In healthcare there are natural pressures that cause managers to lose sight of the overall
perspective and take an individual component approach. This is further complicated when an
"individual component" is a living and breathing patient thus creating an emotional justification
for the approach. Perhaps due to the complexity, organizational makeup or even their reward
structure, often "management does not consider the total care chain from admission to discharge,
but mainly focuses on the performance of individual units. Not surprisingly, this has often
resulted in diminished patient access without any significant reduction in costs" [1]. Additionally,
healthcare managers typically have a background as a specialized care provider.
Healthcare modeling literature is ripe with studies on scheduling, resource utilization, and patient


Source: Al Hanbali, Ahmad - Department of Applied Mathematics, Universiteit Twente


Collections: Engineering