"County/USC Hospital serves an enormous population in the region, with many patients going to the emergency room first, so the waits can be long," said Randolph Hall, principal investigator and professor of industrial and systems engineering in USC's Viterbi School of Engineering. "Given the hospital's budget constraints, it's really critical that they develop systems and procedures to move patients through the hospital as efficiently as possible. "
In the first study of its kind for USC's Viterbi School of Engineering, Hall and a team of engineers in the Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering partnered with Los Angeles County/USC Hospital to model the entire hospital, from top to bottom, as an integrated system. The objective was to identify the most significant bottlenecks, as well as the highest payoff strategies for improving patient flow in one of the nation's largest public hospitals.
Los Angeles County/USC Hospital is a 1,395-bed facility located in East Los Angeles. The county-run facility is a partner institution of the Keck School of Medicine of USC that treats approximately 800,000 patients annually, including at least 200,000 emergency room visits. According to hospital records, almost half of those treated are indigent or uninsured.
To keep up with the demand, Hall said, patients must be transferred without delay from emergency room triage to ancillary services, such as radiology departments, for x-rays, CT scans, MRIs and other diagnostic tests, or on to operating rooms for surgery. Those who need to be admitted to the hospital must further wait for a bed to be freed up, which depends on the speed at which patients are discharged, rooms are prepared and patien
Contact: Diane Ainsworth
University of Southern California