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Applying Lean Techniques to Patient Flow using Stochastic Modelling

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Latif
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Reference Number: ML-2018-PhD-1

Project Summary:
This research project explores the use and development of an integrated simulation model for the study of patient flow in hospitals and its dynamic effects on staffing, patients, and resources. In particular, the research focuses on human behavioural factors that lead to excessive waiting times and its effects on the level of healthcare. It is proposed to investigate the implementation of agile manufacturing techniques to the healthcare environment.

Specific Requirements of the Project


Knowledge or experience of the healthcare environment would be useful. Modelling and simulation skills are desirable using process simulation software e.g. Witness. Ability to work independently and methodically. Logical thinking skills. Some understanding of operations management, management science. General programming aptitude is desirable.

Project Aims and Objectives


Patient flow models have been universally used for planning health services for both acute and chronic patients. These models invariably assume patients are homogenous and events follow traditional queuing models. These techniques are useful for examining patient flow in large population groups where Markov assumptions, or simple extensions of these, can be made. However, it is realised waiting is an unavoidable part of modern life. Waiting causes not only inconvenience, but can also prove to be frustrating, demoralising, agonising, aggravating, annoying, time-consuming and incredibly expensive. Waiting in a service facility (e.g. store, bank, laboratory, hospital, and so on) has significant effects on customers’ overall perceptions of the quality of service that they seek; hence, waiting process has drawn great attention and has subsequently become a critical element in regard to business operation management. In fact, numerous mathematical and operations researches have been carried out with the aim of improving the overall efficiency of the waiting process; however, previous researches have solved only part of problem as they do not take into consideration human factors. As waiting involves people, time, and the environment, it is fundamental to incorporate issues related to both the social and psychological perspectives to reduce the negative impacts of waiting on customer satisfaction and perceived quality.

The aims of this research are:

 Develop a stochastic computer model that can simulate a patient flow system within a hospital that is subject to patient overcrowding whilst integrating human behaviour and is capable of predicting the level of healthcare experienced by patients.
 Demonstrate the validity of the simulation model for a wide range of human behaviours, problems and applications, involving conventional departments as well as the emergency department

The objectives are defined as follows:

 Review existing models of patient flow systems in hospitals and identify knowledge gaps.
 Explore and investigate patient behavioural factors and develop a decision tree.
 Decide on the best option to develop a new simulation model based on existing DES (discrete event simulation) methods and human behavioural factors.
 Develop a dynamic DES model of a patient flow system that captures healthcare and includes the flexibility of patient and staff behaviour.
 Validate and calibrate the model
 Demonstrate the usability and validity of the model against several case studies.
 Comment on future use and further development of the new simulation model and define areas where it may be of significant benefit to the health service providers and the research community.

Project is open to: Home/EU and overseas

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr M. Latif
Tel +44 (0) 161 247 6264 email [Email Address Removed]




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