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Bringing Robustness to Patient Flow Management Through Optimized Patient Transports in Hospitals

Bringing Robustness to Patient Flow Management Through Optimized Patient Transports in Hospitals Intrahospital transports are often required for diagnostic or therapeutic reasons. Depending on the hospital layout, transportation between nursing wards and service units is either provided by ambulances or by trained personnel who accompany patients on foot. In many large German hospitals, the patient transport service is poorly managed and lacks work-flow coordination. This contributes to higher hospital costs (e.g., because a patient is not delivered to the operating room on time) and to patient inconvenience (e.g., because of long waiting times). We designed a computer-based planning system, Opti-TRANS, that supports all phases of the transportation flow, including travel booking, dispatching transport requests, and monitoring and reporting trips in real time. The methodology, which we developed to solve the underlying optimization problema dynamic dial-a-ride problem with hospital-specific constraints, draws on fast heuristic methods to ensure the efficient and timely provision of transports. We illustrate the strong impact of Opti-TRANS on the daily performance of the patient transportation service of a large German hospital. The major benefits of Opti-TRANS include streamlined transportation processes and work flow, significant savings, and improved patient satisfaction. Moreover, it has contributed to increased awareness among hospital staff of the importance of implementing efficient logistics practices. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Interfaces INFORMS

Bringing Robustness to Patient Flow Management Through Optimized Patient Transports in Hospitals

Interfaces , Volume 39 (3): 15 – Jun 1, 2009
15 pages

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Publisher
INFORMS
Copyright
Copyright © INFORMS
Subject
Research Article
ISSN
0092-2102
eISSN
1526-551X
DOI
10.1287/inte.1080.0379
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Intrahospital transports are often required for diagnostic or therapeutic reasons. Depending on the hospital layout, transportation between nursing wards and service units is either provided by ambulances or by trained personnel who accompany patients on foot. In many large German hospitals, the patient transport service is poorly managed and lacks work-flow coordination. This contributes to higher hospital costs (e.g., because a patient is not delivered to the operating room on time) and to patient inconvenience (e.g., because of long waiting times). We designed a computer-based planning system, Opti-TRANS, that supports all phases of the transportation flow, including travel booking, dispatching transport requests, and monitoring and reporting trips in real time. The methodology, which we developed to solve the underlying optimization problema dynamic dial-a-ride problem with hospital-specific constraints, draws on fast heuristic methods to ensure the efficient and timely provision of transports. We illustrate the strong impact of Opti-TRANS on the daily performance of the patient transportation service of a large German hospital. The major benefits of Opti-TRANS include streamlined transportation processes and work flow, significant savings, and improved patient satisfaction. Moreover, it has contributed to increased awareness among hospital staff of the importance of implementing efficient logistics practices.

Journal

InterfacesINFORMS

Published: Jun 1, 2009

Keywords: Keywords : health care ; transportation ; vehicle routing ; scheduling vehicles ; programming ; integer ; algorithms ; heuristic

References