Healthcare Operations Management: A Snapshot of Emerging Research
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A new generation of healthcare operations management (HOM) scholars is studying timely healthcare topics (e.g., organization design, design of delivery, and organ transplantation) using contemporary methodolog- ical tools (e.g., econometrics, information economics, and queuing games). A distinguishing feature of this stream of work is that it explicitly incorporates behavior, incentive, and policy considerations arising from the entanglements across multiple entities that make up the complex healthcare ecosystem. This focus is a departure from an earlier generation of research that primarily centered on optimizing given operations of a single entity. This paper provides an introduction to this burgeoning field and maps out research opportunities. We start with identifying key entities of healthcare delivery, financing, innovation, and policymaking, illustrating them on a healthcare ecosystem map (HEM). Next, we explore the HOM literature examining the interactions among various entities in the HEM. We then develop a taxonomy for the recent HOM literature (published in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, Management Science, and Operations Research between 2013 and 2017), provide a tool-thrust graph mapping methodological tools with research thrusts, and situate the HOM literature in context by connecting it with perspectives from medical journals and mass media. We close with a reference to technological innovations that have the potential to transform the healthcare ecosystem in future decades.