University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center: Managing Capacity in Neurology
In December 2014, Dr. Anthony Furlan, chair of the Department of Neurology at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center (UH), faced a mandate from the hospital's executive leadership team. Specifically, all UH departments were directed to take steps within six months to reduce the waiting time for outpatient appointments-measured as the time to first available outpatient appointment-to no more than 15 days. For Furlan and his colleagues in neurology, achieving this target was a significant challenge, as the department's current time to first available appointment was 93 days. The case considers several alternatives for reducing waiting time in outpatient neurology without increasing the total clinical staff. The case allows students to evaluate opportunities for expanding the effective capacity of a complex service operation and to understand the tradeoffs between customer service and labor utilization.