Monday, December 31, 2012

Emergency Department Simulation

Our simulation capabilities allow us to create accurate computer models of real-world complex systems and organizations – including Hospital and Emergency Departments (EDs)– and to analyze the efficiency and effectiveness of current processes and to evaluate a vast array of potential improvements and modifications to the system.

Consider Emergency Departments in the US. The demand for ED services in the US increasing and outpacing the capacity. The August 2012 National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief stated that ED visits are up 32% from 1999 to 2009. At last count, there are 136.1 million visits annual to EDs in the US. (NCHS Data Brief, Number 10). ED crowding is an issue that likely impacts both quality of patient care and the financial bottom line. Studies have shown negative relationships between patient length of stay (LOS) and Press-Ganey survey scores. Studies have also shown relationships over-worked medical staff and costly disposition coding errors. Every ounce of efficiency is becoming more and more valuable.

Our computer model of the Emergency Department at the University of Tennessee Medical Center will allow us to follow patients throughout the entire process from arrival to discharge. In doing so, we will be able to see a holistic view of the ED and investigate LOS, left without being seen (LWBS) patients, Emergency room boarding, and utilization (over or under) of resources. Our capabilities are not limited to ED departments alone -- given sufficient data we can analyze nearly every component in Hospital management. There are potential gains in everything from elective surgery scheduling to housekeeping staffing.
Besides simulation, we also have considerable experience in data-mining, optimization modeling, and artificial intelligence. The analytical methods we employ will not only help to uncover the “what” and “whys” of problems in a system, but also provide solutions to those problems; solutions which inherently incorporate the complexity of the entire system. Solutions which can help to increase quality of care, reduce waiting times, balance schedules, eliminate bottlenecks, mitigate waste, and increase profitability.