Elective surgical suspension during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a sizeable surgical case backlog throughout the world. As we ramp back up, how do we decide which cases take priority? Potential future waves (or a future pandemic) may lead to additional surgical shutdown and subsequent reopening. Deciding which cases to prioritise in the face of limited health system capacity has emerged as a new challenge for healthcare leaders. Here we present an ethically grounded and operationally efficient surgical prioritisation framework for healthcare leaders and practitioners, drawing insights from decision analysis and organisational sciences.
- clinical leadership
- management system
- operating system
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Contributors All authors contributed to the development of the ideas in this article. AJ wrote the initial draft, and all authors reviewed and made material contributions to subsequent drafts.
Funding This work was supported by the Hopkins Business of Health Initiative (Johns Hopkins University).
Competing interests None declared.
Patient and public involvement statement This article does not contain any personal or medical information about an identifiable individual; all patient cases mentioned are fictional.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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