Optimizing weekend availability for sophisticated tests and procedures in a large hospital

Lawrence H. Lee, Stephen J. Swensen, Colum A. Gorman, Robin R. Moore, Douglas L. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The reduced availability of sophisticated tests and procedures in hospitals on weekends (the so-called "weekend effect") delays care. Addressing this problem requires hospital managers to balance the desire for timeliness with the need for efficient operations. We illustrate how a hospital can profile timeliness, demand, and capacity utilization across the week for multiple testing areas. This simple, practical method, using data extracted from the hospital's accounting system, makes visible the pattern and magnitude of delays caused by reduced availability on weekends, while also showing how capacity is deployed. We combined the analytical tool with a process of transparent feedback and local problem solving that engages multiple stakeholders in the hospital. The goal is to optimally configure capacity so as to balance the imperatives of timely availability and efficient resource utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-558
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Managed Care
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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