Over 40 years, there have been several tools emerge to eliminate uncertainty in the building of outpatient clinics before the design takes physical form. One such tool is Discrete Event Simulation (DES), which provides a cost-effective method to evaluate and inform future design decisions for capacity estimation, policy impact, patient scheduling, and patient wait and visit times. DES evaluates the effects of multiple variables, alternative solutions and decisions on optimal scenarios. The extensive use of DES in healthcare emerges from its complex, unpredictable and variable nature.

More recently, DES models have been growing in popularity and acceptance by healthcare administrators as practical tools for resource allocations that improve patient flow and satisfaction. The DES model was built with the design of a conceptual model representing typical operations for the entire clinic. A comprehensive analysis was performed on data from more than 170,000 appointments for one complete year.

Fundamental elements of DES in healthcare include patient flows through the system, arrival rates, location resources, equipment resources, staffing resources and service time. Resources were based on the proposed clinic floor plan undergoing the planning and design process. For example, each exam room, nurse and provider workstations, check-in and check-out desks were considered location resources.

The base model outputs were validated and verified with real time data. Staffing resources were estimated based on the organizational proposed staffing schedule per department. Administrative and clinical staff per department verified that process logic connected all the model elements. Performance measures included patient wait times to be roomed, patient wait times for a provider, provider and staff encounter times with patient, and total room utilization times.

Thus, DES was an effective tool, suggesting that interior designers and planners create a lively and friendly waiting room that reduces the perception of waiting for patients through a comfortable and engaging experience. DES was an effective tool to propose programming alterations to the clinic environment. These modifications aimed to accommodate the growing integration of technology and environmental features that improve the waiting experience relative to the visitor's well-being. The emerging tools provide data for healthcare organizations to make informed decisions.

The design team invites a future where quantitative and qualitative solutions are considered from a single workflow and are more intuitive. Click here to find out more about how DES is focused on ultimately improving the Patient Experience in any outpatient clinic.

And, to find out more about how Expeditor works closely with outpatient clinic designers and their teams to provide turnkey visual cue patient flow efficiency solutions that improve the Patient Experience. For over 40 years, our focus has always been to improve the patient experience through increased Patient Flow efficiency in any outpatient specialty clinic.

Contact Us today and let us show you how our technology has increased patient flow efficiency in over 8,000 outpatient clinic clients and how the patient flow data that comes from the intuitive use of our light system WILL make your outpatient clinic more efficient. We've proven it over and over again for over 40 years, let us show you how we accomplish this for you.