A Data-Driven Discrete Event Simulation Model to Improve Emergency Department Logistics

Demands for health care are becoming overwhelming for healthcare systems around the world regarding the availability of resources, particularly in emergency departments (EDs) that are continuously open and must serve any patient who comes in immediately. Efficient management of EDs and their resources is required more than ever.

This could be achieved either by optimizing resource utilization or by improving hospital layout. Results are analyzed to understand the requirements across the hospital for reduced waiting times in the ED. The main observation revealed that introducing a new ward dedicated to patients with complex diagnoses with a capacity of fewer than 20 beds led to lower waiting times.

This paper provides a case study of the Uppsala University Hospital. For the ED of this hospital, a data-driven simulation model was designed, on the one hand, to examine the current state of the patient flow. On the other hand, to investigate potential logistics solutions for improving that flow through a novel strategy by stratifying incoming patients in several pathways.

The implemented model was calibrated to the data sources and tested with respect to its ability to reflect the expected behavior. Afterward, the behavior of the model was monitored and verified through the 2D and 3D window elements. The designed simulation model not only underlined the advantages of ADA (a new ward dedicated to patients with complex diagnoses) in achieving a better level of healthcare services and revealing the necessary capacity in the critical wards of the ED in terms of physicians and beds, but also helped in discovering what drawbacks ADA brings.

 Data-driven discrete-event simulation model
Data-driven discrete-event simulation model

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