Improving Patient Flow in Emergency Department through Dynamic Priority Queue

Kar Way TAN, Singapore Management University
Hoong Chuin LAU, Singapore Management University


Most queuing problems are based on FIFO, LIFO, or static priority queues; very few address dynamic priority queues. In this paper, we present a case in a hospital’s emergency department (ED) where the queuing process can be modeled as a time-varying M/M/s queue with re-entrant patients. In order to improve patient flow in the department, we propose the use of a dynamic priority queue to dispatch patients to consultation with doctors. We test our proposed model using simulation and our experimental results show that a dynamic priority queue is effective in reducing the length of stay (LOS) of patients and hence improving patient flow. Furthermore, we show that a hybrid scheme is effective in preventing starvation.