Closure simulation for reduction of emergency patient diversion: A discrete agent-based simulation approach to minimizing ambulance diversion

D. Pförringer, M. Breu, M. Crönlein, R. Kolisch, K. G. Kanz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The city of Munich uses web-based information system IVENA to promote exchange of information regarding hospital offerings and closures between the integrated dispatch center and hospitals to support coordination of the emergency medical services. Hospital crowding resulting in closures and thus prolonged transportation time poses a major problem. An innovative discrete agent model simulates the effects of novel policies to reduce closure times and avoid crowding. Methods: For this analysis, between 2013 and 2017, IVENA data consisting of injury/disease, condition, age, estimated arrival time and assigned hospital or hospital-closure statistics as well as underlying reasons were examined. Two simulation experiments with three policy variations are performed to gain insights on the influence of diversion policies onto the outcome variables. Results: A total of 530,000+ patients were assigned via the IVENA system and 200,000+ closures were requested during this time period. Some hospital units request a closure on more than 50% of days. The majority of hospital closures are not triggered by the absolute number of patient arrivals, but by a sudden increase within a short time period. Four of the simulations yielded a specific potential for shortening of overall closure time in comparison to the current status quo. Conclusion: Effective solutions against crowding require common policies to limit closure status periods based on quantitative thresholds. A new policy in combination with a quantitative arrival sensor system may reduce closing hours and optimize patient flow.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32
JournalEuropean Journal of Medical Research
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 8 Jun 2018

Keywords

  • Ambulance
  • Closure policy
  • Crowding
  • Dispatch
  • Diversion
  • Emergency medical services
  • Simulation

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