The intensive care unit (ICU) in a hospital caters for critically ill patients. The number of the ICU beds has a direct impact on many aspects of hospital performance. Lack of the ICU beds may cause ambulance diversion and surgery cancellation, while an excess of ICU beds may cause a waste of resources. This paper aims to develop a discrete event simulation (DES) model to help the healthcare service providers determine the proper ICU bed capacity which strikes the balance between service level and cost effectiveness.
The DES model is developed to reflect the complex patient flow of the ICU system. Actual operational data, including emergency arrivals, elective arrivals and length of stay, are directly fed into the DES model to capture the variations in the system. The DES model is validated by open box test and black box test. The validated model is used to test two what‐if scenarios which the healthcare service providers are interested in: the proper number of the ICU beds in service to meet the target rejection rate and the extra ICU beds in service needed to meet the demand growth.
A 12‐month period of actual operational data was collected from an ICU department with 13 ICU beds in service. Comparison between the simulation results and the actual situation shows that the DES model accurately captures the variations in the system, and the DES model is flexible to simulate various what‐if scenarios.
DES helps the healthcare service providers describe the current situation, and simulate the what‐if scenarios for future planning.
Zhu, Z., Hoon Hen, B. and Liang Teow, K. (2012), "Estimating ICU bed capacity using discrete event simulation", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 134-144. https://doi.org/10.1108/09526861211198290Download as .RIS
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