Process Mining–Based Method of Designing and Optimizing the Layouts of Emergency Departments in Hospitals

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Objective:This article proposes an approach to help designers analyze complex care processes and identify the optimal layout of an emergency department (ED) considering several objectives simultaneously. These objectives include minimizing the distances traveled by patients, maximizing design preferences, and minimizing the relocation costs.Background:Rising demand for healthcare services leads to increasing demand for new hospital buildings as well as renovating existing ones. Operations management techniques have been successfully applied in both manufacturing and service industries to design more efficient layouts. However, high complexity of healthcare processes makes it challenging to apply these techniques in healthcare environments.Method:Process mining techniques were applied to address the problem of complexity and to enhance healthcare process analysis. Process-related information, such as information about the clinical pathways, was extracted from the information system of an ED. A goal programming approach was then employed to find a single layout that would simultaneously satisfy several objectives.Results:The layout identified using the proposed method improved the distances traveled by noncritical and critical patients by 42.2% and 47.6%, respectively, and minimized the relocation costs.Conclusion:This study has shown that an efficient placement of the clinical units yields remarkable improvements in the distances traveled by patients.

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