Date of Award

Fall 2004

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Committee Director

Ghaith Rabadi

Committee Member

Resit Unal

Committee Member

Ji Hyon Mun

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.E555 T76 2004


People in the United States pay more for their basic healthcare needs than do people in any other nation in the world. When we consider that the United States is the wealthiest nation in the world, controlling the majority of the world's resources, it seems only reasonable to ask: Why should it be this way?

In an effort to address this problem, this thesis examines two possible methods of improving health care efficiency in hospitals. The thesis is thus in two parts: the first part examines resource allocation in medical units using Queuing Theory, and the second part examines a more accurate estimation of surgical procedure times. In the first part, a queuing model provides performance measures based on the historical interarrival and service times of a medical unit. The queuing model demonstrates the trade-off between the utilization (system's perspective) and patient waiting time in the queue (customer's perspective). Also, it shows some insights as to the average of patients spent in the system and in the queue, the average time a patient spends in the system, and the probability of the system being empty. The queuing model will enable hospital managers to see the effect of arrival rate, service rate, and number of beds to estimate the main performance measures of assessing the benefits of providing extra beds to minimize patient waiting time when demand increases.

The second part provides a better estimate of surgical procedure times based on a lognormal distribution. Efficient estimation of surgical procedures times will reduce the costs incurred in inaccurate estimation of its time and consequently the costs associated with surgical operating rooms.

These two proposed methodological approaches will hopefully point the way toward further research aimed at bringing about concrete improvements in U.S. hospital performance.


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