Many organizations, such as banks, airlines, telecommunications companies, and police departments, routinely use queueing models to help manage and allocate resources in order to respond to demands in a timely and cost-efficient fashion. Though queueing analysis has been used in hospitals and other healthcare settings, its use in this sector is not widespread. Yet, given the pervasiveness of delays in healthcare and the fact that many healthcare facilities are trying to meet increasing demands with tightly constrained resources, queueing models can be very useful in developing more effective policies for allocating and managing resources in healthcare facilities. Queueing analysis is also a useful tool for estimating capacity requirements and managing demand for any system in which the timing of service needs is random. This chapter describes basic queueing theory and models as well as some simple modifications and extensions that are particularly useful in the healthcare setting, and gives examples of their use. The critical issue of data requirements is also discussed as well as model choice, model-building and the interpretation and use of results.
The above PDF is a preprint version of the chapter published in the Handbook of Healthcare Delivery Systems. Many Taylor & Francis and Routledge books are now available as eBooks.