JOURNAL ARTICLE

Optimizing patient flow in a large hospital surgical centre by means of discrete-event computer simulation models

Rodrigo B Ferreira, Fernando C Coelli, Wagner C A Pereira, Renan M V R Almeida
Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 2008, 14 (6): 1031-7
19019096

OBJECTIVE: This study used the discrete-events computer simulation methodology to model a large hospital surgical centre (SC), in order to analyse the impact of increases in the number of post-anaesthetic beds (PABs), of changes in surgical room scheduling strategies and of increases in surgery numbers.

METHODS: The used inputs were: number of surgeries per day, type of surgical room scheduling, anaesthesia and surgery duration, surgical teams' specialty and number of PABs, and the main outputs were: number of surgeries per day, surgical rooms' use rate and blocking rate, surgical teams' use rate, patients' blocking rate, surgery delays (minutes) and the occurrence of postponed surgeries. Two basic strategies were implemented: in the first strategy, the number of PABs was increased under two assumptions: (a) following the scheduling plan actually used by the hospital (the 'rigid' scheduling - surgical rooms were previously assigned and assignments could not be changed) and (b) following a 'flexible' scheduling (surgical rooms, when available, could be freely used by any surgical team). In the second, the same analysis was performed, increasing the number of patients (up to the system 'feasible maximum') but fixing the number of PABs, in order to evaluate the impact of the number of patients over surgery delays.

CONCLUSION: It was observed that the introduction of a flexible scheduling/increase in PABs would lead to a significant improvement in the SC productivity.

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