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Original Research

Open Access

Improving Emergency Department Capacity Efficiency


1 Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Aalto University, School of Science, Aalto, Finland

2 Department of Emergency Medicine, Kanta-Häme Central Hospital, Hämeenlinna, Finland

3 Health Care Services, City of Hämeenlinna, Hämeenlinna, Finland

4 Helsinki Social Services and Health Care, Haartman Hospital, Helsinki, Finland

5 University of Tampere, School of Medicine, Finland

DOI: 10.22514/SV121.102016.9 Vol.12,Issue S1,October 2016 pp.52-57

Published: 10 October 2016

*Corresponding Author(s): TIMO LUKKARINEN E-mail:

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Objective. The demand for emergency services has risen dramatically around the world. Many Emergency Departments (EDs) have signs of low capacity efficiency (which we define as the rate at which a production facility with limited resources can convert input into output); insufficient resources (staffing, equipment, facilities), inefficient ways to use them, or both. Our purpose was to investigate how to improve ED capacity efficiency through layout planning and present some novel ideas of ED bottlenecks.

Methods. We adopted an industrial engi-neering perspective to one Finnish ED as a case example. In contrary to a simple case report we used more generalizable meth-ods and demand-supply chain analysis to improve capacity efficiency.

Results. This study resulted in concrete and generalizable improvements of capacity ef-ficiency concerning both ED premises and staffing. The former includes designing pa-tient locations, organizing beds, improving space usage and optimizing an ED layout. The latter identified the demand for differ-ent specialties and optimal allocation of nursing staff.

Conclusion. We present a rather unique combination of ways to enhance ED func-tionality by using methods of industrial engineering.

Key words

capacity efficiency, emergency department, operations management, healthcare

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