Improving emergency department capacity efficiency

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Objective. The demand for emergency services has risen dramatically around the world. Many Emergency Departments (EDs) have signs of low capacity efficiency (which we define as the rate at which a production facility with limited resources can convert input into output); insufficient resources (staffing, equipment, facilities), inefficient ways to use them, or both. Our purpose was to investigate how to improve ED capacity efficiency through layout planning and present some novel ideas of ED bottlenecks. Methods. We adopted an industrial engineering perspective to one Finnish ED as a case example. In contrary to a simple case report we used more generalizable methods and demand-supply chain analysis to improve capacity efficiency. Results. This study resulted in concrete and generalizable improvements of capacity efficiency concerning both ED premises and staffing. The former includes designing patient locations, organizing beds, improving space usage and optimizing an ED layout. The latter identified the demand for different specialties and optimal allocation of nursing staff. Conclusion. We present a rather unique combination of ways to enhance ED functionality by using methods of industrial engineering.




Lehtonen, H., Lukkarinen, T., Kämäräinen, V., Rautava, V. P., Parviainen, P., & Palomäki, A. (2016). Improving emergency department capacity efficiency. Signa Vitae, 12(1), 52–57.

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