How Congestion and Bottleneck Pressure Affect the Length of a Patients Hospital Stay

After observing the paper puppet assembly line the class discussed some of the issues that arose during the creation of the puppets.  It was noted that there was a buildup of materials for worker two, and therefore she was named the bottleneck out of all the other steps/workers.  There are many stages in creating or maintaining a product so it is inevitable that somewhere along the line a company will have to deal with congestion at a certain stage of production.

Predicting the length of a patience stay in a hospital is based off of how heavy the workload is for workers that day, which plays a significant role in processing and discharging times.  When a hospital is congested the length of stay for a patient is longer because the workers workload is heavier making it harder for the workers to take time to process or discharge a patient.  Another factor in congestion of inpatients stay is when there is a high load of incoming patients that need emergency medical care, but when incoming patients are in need of emergency surgical care the inpatients stay is lower because the hospital needs to release their current patients to make room for the emergency surgical patients.

Therefore the bottleneck and congestion is evident when the hospital workers are overwhelmed with a large amount of non-scheduled patients that just need medical care.  This is the case because the hospital workers spend their time caring for the influx of patients that need the medical care but not a room to stay in so the current inpatients discharging times are pushed back.

One way hospitals are fixing this is when there is a high level of predictability, which reduces patients’ length of stay up to 0.45 days.  Another way that the hospital could fix these issues would be by “adding or allocating additional resources to the inpatient hospital units, and counter-intuitively, targeting a lower occupancy level to increase productivity” (Tucker 1).  According to the author the last way that a hospital could improve productivity is by placing a nurse on the hospital floors who is solely responsible for discharges and admissions.

It is interesting how hospitals are affected by a bottleneck within the process of admitting and discharging patients and the steps they could be taking to eliminate the congestion.  I agree with the author’s idea of hiring a nurse whose sole job is admitting and discharging patients.  It is surprising that hospitals have not created this job position already because by releasing patients faster it is less money spent on housing and feeding them in one of the hospitals rooms.





2 thoughts on “How Congestion and Bottleneck Pressure Affect the Length of a Patients Hospital Stay

  1. I definitely agree with your point about how bottlenecks are created inside of hospitals due to lack of rooms and how difficult it can become to effectively organize the surplus of patients. The most difficult aspect of organizing rooms for patients is the constant uncertainty of how long current patients will need to stay at the hospital and how many new patients will come in. I also agree with your point that hospitals can begin to utilize staff workers to efficiently allocate hospital beds and to ensure that patients can be discharged faster. In large cities this is a much more pressing issues due to the amount of people and lack of hospitals. If hospitals will be able to effectively discharge and admit patients faster then the waiting time for a doctor and a hospital bed will decrease and many more patients will be able to get medical care. Additionally, with new technology constantly evolving, the amount of time that patients need to spend in the hospital will continue to decrease. As a result, this will open up more rooms and beds.

  2. I agree with both of you in how the congestion and bottle neck affect the amount of time that patients have to wait in order to get medical attention. I believe it would help a lot if, as you mentioned, the resources (in this case nurses and doctors) are allocated more efficiently. If they do this, patients will not have to wait too much to get the medical attention they need and also they would not have to pay high amounts on medical bills. Although, I do not know if this is something hospitals would like.

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