Technical Efficiency Evaluation of Ardabil Hospitals Affiliated to University of Medical Sciences using Artificial Neural Network Method
Background: The optimal management of hospitals as the most important centers for providing health services has always been the focus of decision makers and policymakers. The present study aimed to evaluate the technical efficiency of hospitals affiliated to Ardebil University of Medical Sciences using Artificial Neural Network (ANN) method.
Methods: The present descriptive, applied, and cross-sectional study was conducted in 2017. The study population consisted of 8 educational and therapeutic centers affiliated to Ardabil University of Medical Sciences and Health Services. Census sampling method was applied to select the participants and researcher-made checklists were used to collect the data. The artificial neural network method was also used to investigate the study objectives. The applied network was a multi-layer prospectron with a Levenberg Marquardt optimization function, a sigmoid tangent transfer function in the middle layer, and a linear function in the output layer. For processing and preparing data, Excel spreadsheet was used and Matlab software were used for analyzing and designing the network.
Results: The results showed that the average technical efficiency of the studied hospitals was 0.75. Ardabil Bou Ali, Khalkhal Imam Khomeini, and Meshkinshahr Valiasr hospitals had the highest technical efficiency (1.00). With regard to the hospital bed occupancy rate, Germi Velayat hospital had the lowest efficiency rate (0.75). Furthermore, Parsabad Imam Khomeini hospital had the lowest efficiency in the number of discharged healthy patients (0.69) in 2017. Finally, the improvement space of each variable was calculated to achieve the total technical efficiency.
Conclusion: According to the results, one of the factors that decreases the technical efficiency of the educational centers is the low rate of hospital beds' utilization and occupancy rate. In other words, lack of full-capacity operation by the hospital centers and the low rates of active hospital bed imposed costs and consequently reduced the hospitals' performance.