South West Health Centre: Improving Patient Flow in the Intensive Care Unit
Case (Gen Exp)
Hospitals frequently deal with congestion and blockage that affects patient flow and increased costs. In 2018, at University Hospital, part of South West Health Centre, patient flow in the medical surgical intensive care unit seemed to be highly susceptible to congestion, and this was creating ripple effects throughout the hospital and leading to increased costs. The complexity of patient flow presented an opportunity to build a discrete-event simulation model to provide insights regarding the patient flow, costs, and opportunities for improvement. But how could the hospital’s management use a simulation model of patient flow to determine alternatives to optimize both patient flow and costs?
This case introduces basic queuing theory and discrete-event simulation (DES) models. Students should have previous knowledge of basic statistical distributions, Microsoft Excel formulas, and SIMUL8.0. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to do the following:
- Explain basic queuing theory, in particular, the M/M/1 and M/M/s models.
- Create a simple DES model.
- Evaluate a queuing system's performance measures.
Health Care Services
Canada, Large, 2018
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