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Reducing queues: demand and capacity variations

Reducing queues: demand and capacity variations Purpose – The aim of this paper is to investigate how waiting lists or queues could be reduced without adding more resources; and to describe what factors sustain reduced waiting‐times. Design/methodology/approach – Cases were selected according to successful and sustained queue reduction. The approach in this study is action research. Findings – Accessibility improved as out‐patient waiting lists for two clinics were reduced. The main success was working towards matching demand and capacity. It has been possible to sustain the improvements. Research limitations/implications – Results should be viewed cautiously. Transferring and generalizing outcomes from this study is for readers to consider. However, accessible healthcare may be possible by paying more attention to existing solutions. Practical implications – The study indicates that queue reduction activities should include acquiring knowledge about theories and methods to improve accessibility, finding ways to monitor varying demand and capacity, and to improve patient processing by reducing variations. Originality/value – Accessibility is considered an important dimension when measuring service quality. However, there are few articles on how clinic staff sustain reduces waiting lists. This paper contributes accessible knowledge to the field. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance Emerald Publishing

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0952-6862
DOI
10.1108/09526861111174161
pmid
22204264
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The aim of this paper is to investigate how waiting lists or queues could be reduced without adding more resources; and to describe what factors sustain reduced waiting‐times. Design/methodology/approach – Cases were selected according to successful and sustained queue reduction. The approach in this study is action research. Findings – Accessibility improved as out‐patient waiting lists for two clinics were reduced. The main success was working towards matching demand and capacity. It has been possible to sustain the improvements. Research limitations/implications – Results should be viewed cautiously. Transferring and generalizing outcomes from this study is for readers to consider. However, accessible healthcare may be possible by paying more attention to existing solutions. Practical implications – The study indicates that queue reduction activities should include acquiring knowledge about theories and methods to improve accessibility, finding ways to monitor varying demand and capacity, and to improve patient processing by reducing variations. Originality/value – Accessibility is considered an important dimension when measuring service quality. However, there are few articles on how clinic staff sustain reduces waiting lists. This paper contributes accessible knowledge to the field.

Journal

International Journal of Health Care Quality AssuranceEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 4, 2011

Keywords: Care pathways; Efficiency; Lean thinking; Management; Organizational change; Process management; Sweden; Health services

References