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Reducing queues: demand and capacity variations

Henrik Eriksson (Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Ing‐Marie Bergbrant (Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Ingela Berrum (Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Boel Mörck (Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Article publication date: 4 October 2011




The aim of this paper is to investigate how waiting lists or queues could be reduced without adding more resources; and to describe what factors sustain reduced waiting‐times.


Cases were selected according to successful and sustained queue reduction. The approach in this study is action research.


Accessibility improved as out‐patient waiting lists for two clinics were reduced. The main success was working towards matching demand and capacity. It has been possible to sustain the improvements.

Research limitations/implications

Results should be viewed cautiously. Transferring and generalizing outcomes from this study is for readers to consider. However, accessible healthcare may be possible by paying more attention to existing solutions.

Practical implications

The study indicates that queue reduction activities should include acquiring knowledge about theories and methods to improve accessibility, finding ways to monitor varying demand and capacity, and to improve patient processing by reducing variations.


Accessibility is considered an important dimension when measuring service quality. However, there are few articles on how clinic staff sustain reduces waiting lists. This paper contributes accessible knowledge to the field.



Eriksson, H., Bergbrant, I., Berrum, I. and Mörck, B. (2011), "Reducing queues: demand and capacity variations", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 24 No. 8, pp. 592-600.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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