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Keywords

access, customer service time, hospital management, process analysis

 

Authors

  1. Duda, Catherine DrPH
  2. Rajaram, Kumar PhD
  3. Barz, Christiane Dr rer pol
  4. Rosenthal, J. Thomas MD

Abstract

There has been an increasing emphasis on health care efficiency and costs and on improving quality in health care settings such as hospitals or clinics. However, there has not been sufficient work on methods of improving access and customer service times in health care settings. The study develops a framework for improving access and customer service time for health care settings. In the framework, the operational concept of the bottleneck is synthesized with queuing theory to improve access and reduce customer service times without reduction in clinical quality. The framework is applied at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center to determine the drivers for access and customer service times and then provides guidelines on how to improve these drivers. Validation using simulation techniques shows significant potential for reducing customer service times and increasing access at this institution. Finally, the study provides several practice implications that could be used to improve access and customer service times without reduction in clinical quality across a range of health care settings from large hospitals to small community clinics.