Application of a physical science model in the analysis of patient flow in a hospital

Sinval Lins Silva, Jose M.A. Figueiredo


One of the most relevant aspects in hospital management relies on how to properly control and predict the patient flow, that is, the paths and the time sequence a whole set of patients run in their journey inside the hospital, as they look for treatment. This issue is of the utmost importance since it interferes in the quality of the healthcare delivered to a person and also has a huge impact on both the costs for the patient and the operational costs for the hospital. This work intends to collaborate with the comprehension of the patient flow analysis and to offer a mathematical model analogous to a physical model capable of, qualitatively at first sight, describing the main variables and properties of this flow. We also present the logical elements that allow the manager to develop quantitative flow evaluations adaptable to a specific institution, based on local measurements of the variables described here. This theoretical formulation can directly be applied to practical situations concerning the management of patient flow. The relevant variables and their mathematical relations can be used by the manager in order to quantify each relevant patient circuit in a hospital. This way, it is expected that recurring problems derived from the unwanted variations in the patient flow can be anticipated and corrected by the manager.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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