How do queuing concepts and tools help to efficiently manage hospitals when the patients are impatient? A demonstration

Ramalingam Shanmugam


Background: Due to severe pain, patients are impatient in several wings sporadically and more frequently in emergency wing of the hospitals. To efficiently administer in such environment and the hospital management seeks helpful strategies. The queuing concepts and related methodologies can help as this article has demonstrated by an analysis and interpretation of real data from a hospital in Malta.

Methods: The queuing concepts are probabilistic and statistical ideas based approach. They require configuration of the rate and pattern of arriving patients, the rate and pattern of the service, the number of channels serving, the capacity of the waiting room, and the criterion for selecting patients for service etc. New ideas are presented in this article to manage in various scenarios of real life emergency operations. The pertinent queuing concepts and tools are made easier for the readers to comprehend and practice in their own situations in which they notice that the patients are impatient in their waiting.

Results:Using the new ideas and formulas of this article, the data in the emergency wing of a hospital in Malta (a largest island of an archipelago situated in the center of the Mediterranean with a total population of a million) are analyzed and interpreted. The results clearly explain why there were a prolonged waiting times at the emergency department creating public dissatisfaction and patients were leaving without waiting to be seen. The total time spent by non-urgent patients with nurse and casualty officer is more in the second shift and lesser and lesser in the third and fourth shifts. The interactive time with a nurse by patient is statistically same in all three types: life-threatening, non-life threatening but urgent, and non-urgent. Very strikingly, the patients in all three groups wait longer to be seen by the nurse in shift three and lesser time in shifts two or four.

Conclusion: In 21st century with flourishing globalized medical tourism, a standardized approach to minimize efficiently the waiting time in emergency and other wings of the hospitals in developing as much as in developed nations is a necessity as this auricle has pointed out. The impediments and the remedies for an efficient standardization are overdue.



Busy time, System’s memory, Service discipline, Waiting time, Probability distribution

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