Game Theoretic Approaches to Operating Room Management

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Interactions between people can be considered games with rules and outcomes. However, modern business practices demand that the players in the game go beyond traditional game theory and look at new ways to improve the outcome of the game. Choosing the right strategy is important to a player's success. A new business strategy, "co-opetition," can be used to increase the value of the game ("create a bigger pie") through cooperative behavior, whereas competition is used to divided the "pie." By looking at how the players adopt simultaneous roles such as complementor and competitor the stakeholders in the operating room (managers, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nursing staff) can apply the principles of co-opetition to improve the overall success of their facility. Such stakeholders can utilize knowledge of how populations act in games to enhance cooperative play. Adopting such a perspective may lead to increases in the satisfaction and morale of those involved with the operating rooms. Increased morale should increase productivity and staff retention and reduce recruiting needs.

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