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ThinkMind // International Journal On Advances in Life Sciences, volume 2, numbers 3 and 4, 2010 // View article lifsci_v2_n34_2010_5


Applying the Theory of Constraints to Health Technology Assessment

Authors:
P. Johan Groop
Karita H. Reijonsaari
Paul M. Lillrank

Keywords: Theory of Constraints, technology assessment, home care, healthcare operations management, mobile technology

Abstract:
Applying assessment methods commonly used in healthcare, such as randomized, controlled trials, and financial analysis, often proves challenging when assessing technologies that strive to improve productivity. The traditional way of seeking the procurement and implementation of process-improving technology is based on financial analyses. These are often not only laborious, but also based on weak assumptions about the interrelationship between technology, processes, and the institutional environment. There is a need for a more pragmatic managerial approach. This paper suggests an alternative means, based on the theory of constraints (TOC), arguing that the primary focus of technology assessment should be on the ability of technologies to remove or alleviate organizational constraints, in order to increase throughput rather than reduce costs. Ultimately, the latter will happen as a consequence of the former. The suggested approach is illustrated through a case study of a home care organization, in which improved productivity is sought through the implementation of a mobile solution. Although conventional financial reasoning held that the implementation would save time and therefore be beneficial, the TOC approach showed that the implementation would in fact have an adverse effect under the current mode of operation.

Pages: 115 to 124

Copyright: Copyright (c) to authors, 2010. Used with permission.

Publication date: April 6, 2011

Published in: journal

ISSN: 1942-2660

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