Hospital capacity management based on the queueing theory

Vedat Verter and Morty Yalovsky
Published: 23 February 2018

Authors: Otavio Bittencourt, Vedat Verter, Morty Yalovsky

Publication: International Journal of Productivity and Performance



The purpose of this paper is to focus on the contributions of queueing theory to hospital capacity management to improve organizational performance and deal with increased demand in the healthcare sector.


Models were applied to six months of inpatient records from a university hospital to determine operation measures such as utilization rate, waiting probability, estimated bed capacity, capacity simulations and demand behavior assessment.


Irrespective of the findings of the queueing model, the results showed that there is room for improvement in capacity management. Balancing admissions and the type of patient over the week represent a possible solution to optimize bed and nurse utilization. Patient mixing results in a highly sensitive delay rate due to length of stay (LOS) variability, with variations in both the utilization rate and the number of beds.

Practical implications

The outcomes suggest that operational managers should improve patient admission management, as well as reducing variability in LOS and in admissions during the week.


The queueing theory revealed a quantitative portrait of the day-by-day reality in a fast and flexible manner which is very convenient to the task of management.

Read abstract: International Journal of Productivity and Performance


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