In recent years, Operations Research/Management (OR/OM) has had a significant impact on improving the performance of hospital Emergency Departments (EDs). This includes improving a wide range of processes involving patient flow from the initial call to the ED through discharge home, or admission to the hospital. The authors review approximately 350 related papers to (i) demonstrate the influence of OR/OM in improving patient flow, including triage, streaming, and bed planning, and (ii) summarize the tools used for optimizing patient flow, including optimization, queueing theory, simulation and Markov models. In addition, they elaborate on some practical challenges yet to be addressed, which require a more detailed look at the OR/OM methods used to model ED patient flow.
Saghafian S, Austin G, Traub SJ. Operations Research/Management Contributions to Emergency Department Patient Flow Optimization: Review and Research Prospects. IIE Transactions on Healthcare Systems Engineering 2015; 5: 101-123. http://doi.org/10.1080/19488300.2015.1017676