Development of Emergency Department Load Relief Area—Gauging Benefits in Empirical Terms

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Abstract

Introduction

The primary goal of this investigation was to develop a simulation model to evaluate the various internal and external factors affecting patient flow and crowding in the emergency department (ED). In addition, a few recommendations are proposed to reconfigure the patient flow to improve ED capacity while maintaining service quality.

Methods

In this research, we present a simulation study conducted in the ED at the “S Hospital” located in Seoul. Based on patient flow data and process analysis, a simulation model of patient throughput in the ED has been developed. We evaluated simulations of diverting the specific patient load in the light of our proposed recommendations to a separately managed area named as the ED load relief area (ED-LRA) and analyzing potential effects on overall length of stay (LOS) and waiting time (WT).

Results

What-if analyses have been proposed to identify key issues and investigate the improvements as per our proposed recommendations. The simulation results suggest that specific patient load diversion is needed to ensure desired outcomes. With the diversion of specific patient load to ED-LRA, there is a reduction of 40.60% in mean LOS and 42.5% in WT with improved resource utilization. As a result, opening of an ED-LRA is justified.

Conclusions

Real-world systems are often too intricate for analytical models and often too expensive to trial with directly. Simulation models allow the modeling of this intricacy and enable experimentation to make inferences about how the actual system might perform. Our simulation study modeled that diverting the specific patient load to ED-LRA produced an improvement in overall ED’s LOS and WT.

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