The European Journal of Health Economics

, Volume 19, Issue 7, pp 1009–1017 | Cite as

Assessing the opportunity costs of patients with multidrug-resistant organisms in hospitals

  • Claudia HübnerEmail author
  • Walter Ried
  • Steffen Flessa
Original Paper



The concept of opportunity cost can be applied to the utilization of hospital beds with special focus on patients colonized or infected with multidrug-resistant organisms. Blocked beds due to isolation measures or increased length of stay may result in opportunity costs if newly arriving patients have to be rejected and the hospital is confronted with revenue foregone. However, the amount of these costs is unclear, since different approaches are used in the literature to determine the respective costs. Our paper develops a concept to assess opportunity costs from the perspective of a hospital.


The analysis is two-stage. In a first step, the probability of rejecting a patient due to over-occupancy in a hospital is calculated with a queuing model and a Monte Carlo simulation taking various assumptions into account. In a second step, the amount of the opportunity costs is calculated as an expected value applying a stochastic approach based on a potential patient pool.


Opportunity costs will occur only with a probability that is influenced, among others, by current bed occupancy rates. They have to be measured by average net revenue foregone, i.e., by the difference between average revenue foregone and average costs avoided.


Previous studies have a tendency of overestimating the occurrence or the size of opportunity costs with regard to the use of hospital beds. Nonetheless, its influence on the hospital budget is crucial and should be determined exactly.


Opportunity costs Hospital Net revenue foregone Monte Carlo simulation Decision-making Multidrug-resistant organisms 

JEL Classification



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chair of Health Care Management, Faculty of Law and EconomicsUniversity of GreifswaldGreifswaldGermany
  2. 2.Chair of Public Finance, Faculty of Law and EconomicsUniversity of GreifswaldGreifswaldGermany

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