Supporting operational decision making

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The collection and processing of information is a source of power. This fact is true especially in the health care industry. The apparent lack of information related to operational decisions in the health care industry is cause for concern. Data envelopment analysis (DEA) provides information regarding efficiency of resource utilization. This article reports on the use of DEA to measure relative technical efficiency of nursing units and the level of association between efficiency scores and the presence of selected operational characteristics. We found a statistically significant association between efficiency and two of the selected characteristics. Although nursing units are used to illustrate the application of the technique, DEA can be applied to any operational unit of a health care organization. However, we conclude that information systems and a minimum data set are essential to optimizing utilization of a such techniques

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