Economies of scale in cardiac surgery

Paul Lillrank, Atanu Chaudhuri, Paulus Torkki

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Objective: The objective of this paper is to investigate the impact of scale of surgical units on the productivity of patient processes.
    Methods: The context, intervention, mechanism, output (CIMO) model of Evaluation research is used. The scale–performance mechanisms are examined through resource intensity and throughput time per patient. The productivity of Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) surgery in a very large and a smaller hospital are compared.
    Results: While the large hospital performed 5.1 times more CABG surgeries per year than the smaller hospital, in terms of total resource consumption per patient it was 13% less productive. The large hospital had a 5% efficiency advantage in Operating Theatres (OTs), but it was 30% less efficient in ward care.
    Conclusions: Economies of scale are not found at the patient process level. Operating policies seem to assume more importance than scale.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Hospital Administration
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)78-86
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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