A virtual evaluation of options for managing risk of hospital congestion with minimum intervention

Wanxin Hou, Shaowen Qin, Campbell Henry Thompson

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Hospital congestion is a common problem for the healthcare sector. However, existing approaches including hospital resource optimization and process improvement might lead to huge cost of human and physical structure changes. This study evaluated less disruptive interventions based on a hospital simulation model and offer objective reasoning to support hospital management decisions. This study tested a congestion prevention method that estimates hospital congestion risk level (R), and activates minimum intervention when R is above certain threshold, using a virtual hospital created by simulation modelling. The results indicated that applying a less disruptive intervention is often enough, and more cost effective, to reduce the risk level of hospital congestion. Moreover, the virtual implementation approach enabled testing of the method at a more detailed level, thereby revealed interesting findings difficult to achieve theoretically, such as discharging extra two medical inpatients, rather than surgical inpatients, a day earlier on days when R is above the threshold, would bring more benefits in terms of congestion reduction for the hospital.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14634
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2022


  • Health care
  • Risk factors


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