Measuring the operational performance of intensive care units using the analytic hierarchy process approach

Prasanta K. Dey*, Seetharaman Hariharan, Benjamin T. Clegg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - The purpose of this study is to develop a performance measurement model for service operations using the analytic hierarchy process approach. Design/methodology/approach - The study reviews current relevant literature on performance measurement and develops a model for performance measurement. The model is then applied to the intensive care units (ICUs) of three different hospitals in developing nations. Six focus group discussions were undertaken, involving experts from the specific area under investigation, in order to develop an understandable performance measurement model that was both quantitative and hierarchical. Findings - A combination of outcome, structure and process-based factors were used as a foundation for the model. The analyses of the links between them were used to reveal the relative importance of each and their associated sub factors. It was considered to be an effective quantitative tool by the stakeholders. Research limitations/implications - This research only applies the model to ICUs in healthcare services. Practical implications - Performance measurement is an important area within the operations management field. Although numerous models are routinely being deployed both in practice and research, there is always room for improvement. The present study proposes a hierarchical quantitative approach, which considers both subjective and objective performance criteria. Originality/value - This paper develops a hierarchical quantitative model for service performance measurement. It considers success factors with respect to outcomes, structure and processes with the involvement of the concerned stakeholders based upon the analytic hierarchy process approach. The unique model is applied to the ICUs of hospitals in order to demonstrate its effectiveness. The unique application provides a comparative international study of service performance measurement in ICUs of hospitals in three different countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-865
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2006


  • analytical hierarchy process
  • health services
  • performance measures


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