A queuing-based decision support methodology to estimate hospital inpatient bed demand
Cochran, J. K. R., K. (2008). A queuing-based decision support methodology to estimate hospital inpatient bed demand. [Journal Article]. J Oper Res Soc, 59(11), 1471-1482.
Hospital inpatient bed capacity might be better described as evolved than planned. At least two challenges lead to this behaviour: different views of patient demand implied by different data sets in a hospital and limited use of scientific methods for capacity estimation. In this paper, we statistically examine four distinct hospital inpatient data sets for internal consistency and potential usefulness for estimating true patient bed demand. We conclude that posterior financial data, billing data, rather than the census data commonly relied upon, yields true hospital bed demand. Subsequently, a capacity planning tool, based upon queuing theory and financial data only, is developed. The delivery mechanism is an Excel spreadsheet. One adjusts input parameters including patient volume and mix and instantaneously monitors the effect on bed needs across multiple levels of care. A case study from a major hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, USA is used throughout to demonstrate the methodologies.