Optimization of Medical Services: The Supply Chain and Ethical Implications

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Book Chapter

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Despite a feeling that certain aspects of medical services should be unique and therefore not subject to supply chain optimization, there is still an overriding need to address these services. Cost minimization is critical to continued service and the ability to maintain a high level of care. We discuss established approaches to determining the optimal number of beds to make available, the optimal size of staff, and minimization of equipment and medicine inventories to reduce the overall cost of the supply chain operation. Ethical consideration of these choices is critical for evaluation, limiting the effectiveness of a purely quantitative solution. We examine the ethical considerations and alternative methods for finding an ethically and quantitatively optimal supply chain.

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