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Capacity pooling in healthcare systems - Results from a mixed methods study

Conference paper
Authors Carina Fagefors
Björn Lantz
Peter Rosén
Levi Siljemyr
Published in Proceedings of the 31st Annual NOFOMA Conference, Oslo, Norway, 2019-06-13--2019-06-14
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Business Administration, Industrial and Financial Management & Logistics
Language en
Keywords Capacity pooling, mixed methods, capacity planning, healthcare management,
Subject categories Business Administration


Purpose: In this paper, we examine how pooling – a theoretically based strategy for capacity planning – can be used to create a higher service level at a given total capacity in the healthcare sector. The purpose of the study is to explore the practical obstacles for such a strategy in healthcare systems. Design/methodology/approach: A mixed methods approach was employed, where interviews were conducted with specialty department managers at Sahlgrenska University Hospital to identify perceived obstacles for capacity pooling. Based on the results, a questionnaire was developed and distributed among managers in the Region Västra Götaland healthcare system. Data were analysed with a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and an explorative principal component analysis (PCA). Findings: Six different categories of potential obstacles for capacity pooling were identified during the interviews, namely competence, geography, culture, system, planning, and recruitment. These categories could not be confirmed by the CFA, but in the PCA we instead identified four obstacles for capacity pooling that were similar to the factors in the interview study. These were; threshold heights, community view, recruitment difficulties and physical distance. Practical implications: We conclude this study with presenting four obstacles to use capacity pools in the healthcare sector. These obstacles should be considered in order to introduce capacity pooling successfully in the healthcare system. Original/value: While there are some previous research results in the literature regarding capacity pooling in healthcare systems, they are typically anecdotal and descriptive. This is the first attempt to provide a systematic overview that could generate generalizable results.

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