Using simulation modeling to improve patient flow at an outpatient orthopedic clinic

Health Care Manag Sci. 2011 Jun;14(2):135-45. doi: 10.1007/s10729-010-9145-4. Epub 2010 Dec 9.


We report on the use of discrete event simulation modeling to support process improvements at an orthopedic outpatient clinic. The clinic was effective in treating patients, but waiting time and congestion in the clinic created patient dissatisfaction and staff morale issues. The modeling helped to identify improvement alternatives including optimized staffing levels, better patient scheduling, and an emphasis on staff arriving promptly. Quantitative results from the modeling provided motivation to implement the improvements. Statistical analysis of data taken before and after the implementation indicate that waiting time measures were significantly improved and overall patient time in the clinic was reduced.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / organization & administration*
  • Appointments and Schedules
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Efficiency, Organizational
  • Humans
  • Orthopedics / organization & administration*
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling / organization & administration
  • Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Systems Analysis*
  • Time Factors