Julia M El-Zoghby
An Integrated Framework for Optimization of Resources in Emergency Departments
The study of healthcare systems has become of great significance lately. Hospital departments, such as the Emergency Department (ED) the operating theatre face many challenges, dealing with increasing demands, scarce resources, and high patient expectations. Poor management of those interconnecting departments lead to dilemmas, including overcrowding and long patient stays. Thus, modelling and analysis of a healthcare system plays a key role in assisting healthcare managers to make correct decisions regarding capacity planning, resource allocation and scheduling. Review of existing literature in the area of healthcare management classifies publications according to the hospital departments, model objectives, performance measures, and different solution techniques adopted. Reported research work clearly shows that multi-objective simulation modelling of the ED’s patient flow is one of the most frequently studied topics. Patient length of stay, waiting times, resource utilizations and number of patients treated are commonly used performance indicators of an ED. Accordingly, a framework for an integrated simulation and Genetic Algorithm (GA) is presented. The GA focuses on optimization of resource levels throughout the ED, which directly affects patient flow. Two simulation tools are utilized in the framework, Discrete Event Simulation, which replicates the performance of that ED with the optimized resources, and System Dynamics, which models the entire healthcare system, studying the interrelationships that exist between the ED and the rest of the hospital.