Simulation for emergency care process reengineering in hospitals

Sung J. Shim (Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey, USA)
Arun Kumar (School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Publication date: 14 September 2010



Using computer simulation, this paper seeks to model the emergency care process in a hospital and evaluate the effects of some proposed changes to improve patient wait times in the process.


The paper is based upon a case study conducted at the hospital and uses historical data provided by the hospital to simulate the emergency care process.


The simulation results demonstrate that the changes proposed can shorten patient wait times in the emergency care process. The proposed changes involve adding another payment station and a new short‐stay ward in the process. Based upon the results, the paper supports the implementation of the changes proposed.

Research limitations/implications

A couple of limitations are recognized in this paper. First, the simulation does not consider varying the capacity of resources and locations involved in the emergency care process. Second, the simulation does not consider patients by clinical disciplines in which they are treated.

Practical implications

The simulation results show that computer simulation can be an effective decision support tool in modelling the emergency care process and evaluating the effects of changes in the process. The results would be helpful to those who are considering reengineering and improving emergency care or other similar processes in hospitals.


Based upon a case study using real‐world data, this paper extends the line of studies on computer simulation in healthcare by considering not only patient wait times in the emergency care process but also some ways to improve patient wait times and their effects on the process.



Shim, S. and Kumar, A. (2010), "Simulation for emergency care process reengineering in hospitals", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 16 No. 5, pp. 795-805.

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