Allocating Emergency Beds Improves the Emergency Admission Flow

A.J. Thomas Schneider (Corresponding Author), P. Luuk Besselink, Maartje E. Zonderland, Richard J. Boucherie, Wilbert B. van den Hout, Job Kievit, Paul Bilars, A. Jaap Fogteloo, Ton J. Rabelink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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The increasing number of admissions to hospital emergency departments (EDs) during the past decade has resulted in overcrowded EDs and decreased quality of care. The emergency admission flow that we discuss in this study relates to three types of hospital departments: EDs, acute medical unit (AMUs), and inpatient wards. This study has two objectives: (1) to evaluate the impact of allocating beds in inpatient wards to accommodate emergency admissions and (2) to analyze the impact of pooling the number of beds allocated for emergency admissions in inpatient wards. To analyze the impact of various allocations of emergency beds, we developed a discrete event simulation model. We evaluate the bed allocation scenarios using three performance indicators: (1) the length of stay in the AMU, (2) the fraction of patients refused admission, and (3) the utilization of allocated beds. We develop two heuristics to allocate beds to wards and show that pooling beds improves performance. The partnering hospital has embedded a decision support tool based on the simulation model into its planning and control cycle. The hospital uses it every quarter and updates it with data on a 1-year rolling horizon. This strategy has substantially reduced the number of patients who are refused emergency admission.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-397
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2018


  • Acute Medical Unit
  • Emergency Department
  • Inpatient wards
  • Hospitals
  • Emergency admissions
  • Systems optimalization
  • Discrete-event simulation
  • Length of stay
  • Operations efficiency
  • Decision support


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