Integration of Facility Location and Equipment Allocation in Health Care Management
Goal: This study aims at solving a location problem of Medical Specialties Centers (MSCs) and medical care equipment allocation. Addressing both problems simultaneously is an opportunity to improve public health service quality in the long-term since the literature traditionally treats these problems separately.
Design / Methodology / Approach: The challenge consists in maximizing demand satisfaction with the minimum resource allocation in the public health care reality, where there is limited resource availability and high demand for medical services. For that, it was developed an integrated mathematical model, throughout mixed linear programming. The problem is a case study applied to the secondary public health care level in a Brazilian state. The method is generic and suitable to set the location and allocate resources in health care if the decision maker’s intention is to maximize the use of specialists’ assistance and medical exams.
Results: The results reveal possible improvements in accessibility. Among the insights, the state government should hire 4% more specialists and acquire 1.5% more equipment to assist 99% of population demand for health care service on the secondary level.
Limitation of the investigation: Usually, one appointment can result in more than one medical exam referral. However, this study considers that each specialist meeting refers to only one exam per consultation.
Practical implications: This study contributes to healthcare planning, suggesting a better distribution and allocation of facilities, equipment, and professionals. Moreover, the study proposes accessibility improvements to health unit centers.
Originality / Value: The main contribution of this work is the new integrated approach to public health care planning. The system proposes the reduction of access inequality and the improvement of the quality of health care services.
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