B-SIM and Erasmus University Hospital Rotterdam awarded for operating room capacity planning system

Enschede 09 January 2004The Erasmus University Hospital and B-SIM company have been granted the Dutch "KIVI Speurwerk 2003 Award" for innovative medical technology on December 16, 2003. Both partners received the award for the jointly developed planning system which allows hospitals to optimize their operating room capacity. The software programme is able to forecast the amount of inpredictability in the duration of surgical interventions. As such, the disponibility of operating theatres, operating staff and specialists can be far better planned than before. Using the same capacity, it is now possible to perform 10 to 20 percent more interventions.

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Currently, the Erasmus University Hospital is improving the organisation of the operating theatre complex. The objective is to perform more surgical interventions and to reduce the number of cancelled operations in the programme without increasing the charge on staff personnel nor generating extra costs. In the present situation, it still happens that interventions are being cancelled while some operating theatres simply remain unused.

In order to optimize the organisation, the hospital staff has to take into account the factor of inpredictibility and integrate it into the planning. The analysis of surgery performances from the past ten years in the Erasmus University Hospital, a number of 125.000 interventions, has shown that the amount of inpredictability in the duration of operations can be predicted. Using the knowledge of these inpredictabilities can make the entire planning more reliable. In fact, the predictable character of the inpredictability forms an excellent basis to plan performances in the operating rooms more efficiently.

The simulation developed by B-SIM has been used to elaborate a new planning system that entirely corresponds to the criteria set out by the Erasmus University Hospital. The simulation is also applied to test the solidity of the new planning system using the historical data of the past ten years.

The Erasmus University and B-SIM have combined medical, logistic and management knowledge to record past experiences with operation planning in sound algorithms. The system anticipates uncertainties and makes better use of the available time with the help of ICT. As such, it has the potential to actually optimize the accessibility of health care, according to the report of the jury who handed the award to the representatives of B-SIM and the Erasmus University Hospital.

The persons behind the research for the new planning system software are drs. Geert Kazemier, surgeon and department head of the operating theatre at Erasmus; drs. Mark Van Houdenhoven, responsible of the clustermanager centre at the Erasmus University Hospital; ir. Bart van Acker, senior; and ir. Bertwin Bonenberg, managing director of B-SIM.


Leslie Versweyveld

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