Journal article

Predicting overflow in an emergency department

L Au, GB Byrnes, CA Bain, M Fackrell, C Brand, DA Campbell, PG Taylor

IMA JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT MATHEMATICS | OXFORD UNIV PRESS | Published : 2009

Abstract

Ambulance bypass occurs when the emergency department (ED) of a hospital becomes so busy that ambulances are requested to take their patients elsewhere, except in life-threatening cases. It is a major concern for hospitals in Victoria, Australia, and throughout most of the western world, not only from the point of view of patient safety but also financially - hospitals lose substantial performance bonuses if they go on ambulance bypass too often in a given period. We show that the main cause of ambulance bypass is the inability to move patients from the ED to a ward. In order to predict the onset of ambulance bypass, the ED is modelled as a queue for treatment followed by a queue for a ward ..

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