Application of portfolio theory to healthcare capacity management
Journal article, 2021

Healthcare systems worldwide are faced with continuously increasing demand for care, while simultaneously experiencing insufficient capacity and unacceptably long patient waiting times. To improve healthcare access and availability, it is thus necessary to improve capacity utilization and increase the efficiency of existing resource usage. For this, variations in healthcare systems must be managed judiciously, and one solution is to apply a capacity pooling approach. A capacity pool is a general, collaborative capacity that can be allocated to parts of the system where the existing workload and demand for capacity are unusually high. In this study, we investigate how basic mean-variance methodology from portfolio theory can be applied as a capacity pooling approach to healthcare systems. A numerical example based on fictitious data is used to illustrate the theoretical value of using a portfolio approach in a capacity pooling context. The example shows that there are opportunities to use capacity more efficiently and increase service levels, given the same capacity, and that a mean-variance analysis could be performed to theoretically dimension the most efficient pooling organization. The study concludes with a discussion regarding the practical usefulness of this methodology in the healthcare context.

capacity planning

portfolio theory

healthcare management

capacity pooling


Carina Fagefors

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Innovation and R&D Management

Sahlgrenska University Hospital

Björn Lantz

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Innovation and R&D Management

University West

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

1661-7827 (ISSN) 1660-4601 (eISSN)

Vol. 18 2 1-9 659

Capacity pooling in health care systems

Jan Wallanders och Tom Hedelius stiftelse, 2018-01-01 -- 2021-12-31.

Subject Categories

Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy

Transport Systems and Logistics

Business Administration

Areas of Advance

Health Engineering



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