Managing Hospital Capacities – Health System Example

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"Managing Hospital Capacities"  is an excellent example of a paper on the health system. The growing utilization of hospital Emergency Departments (ED’ s) that mostly informs the hospital surge capacity, requires the enlistment of proper management and capacity flow systems that will ensure that there is no stress to the facility or to the patients. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) manages to release a report portraying the serious issues and problems facing many hospitals ED’ s across the nation (Institute of Medicine, 2006). Every year, single hospitals, and also those categorized as groups of hospitals within the same geographic region face recurring periods of extremely high occupancy followed by periods of low occupancy.

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services is one such facility. In this project, quantitative as well as qualitative analyses will be conducted to determine the trends in potentially avoidable hospital use, ED utilization, ambulance diversion, hospital occupancy among others in the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. In the peak periods, the hospital capacity in New Jersey’ s ED seems to be excessively strained.                       One of the most universally known output bottlenecks facing the ED is the lack of adequate inpatient bed capacities, especially the intensive care unit (ICU) and telemetry beds.

When this happens, there would be almost no immediate surge capacity available to respond to a major emergency such as a natural disaster or terrorist attack without displacing existing patients. Like their counterparts nationwide, hospitals in NJ face periodic stress on capacity, which often manifests itself in the form of delayed care in the emergency department (ED). The pressure on these hospitals has its implications from factors that affect ED input (i. e., the number of patients coming to the ED for care), throughput (i. e., the movement of patients through the ED), and output (i. e., the availability of resources in the next level of care) and if this is managed well then the patient flow will be handled well.

Performance may be varied too in many types of medical facilities but they all have the ability to control their throughput and outputs by adopting one or several available patient flow management techniques (Schwalbe & Furlong, 2013). However, a variety of broader health system issues limit the scope to which hospitals can manage some aspects of their ED output ED input.

When patients are unable to attend or gain access to primary care and various forms of specialized care in their nearby hospitals, they will go to the only facility available for these kinds of services thus heavily influencing the trends in ED input. The ED output is on the other hand hampered by the ancient discrepancy of compensation given for elective surgeries compared to general hospital services which eventually make it costly if elective surgery schedules were to be disrupted (Schwalbe & Furlong, 2013). Various measures can be used to manage hospital capacities in New Jersey.

In this case, regular surveillance is required to monitor patient flow, patient flow measures, and other indicators so as to come up with mitigation measures to inform the public policymakers ease their decisions in deriving efforts to assist hospitals in this task.   Better management of patient flow is crucial so as not to have frequent ambulance diversion and ED overcrowding more generally.

Having a near-perfect ‘ real-time’ tracking system of patients: discharge coordination, incoming patient volumes, and use of necessary resources at any particular moment.


Kathy Schwalbe & Dan Furlong. “Healthcare Project Management”. 2013. ISBN-13: 978-

0982800355. Publisher: Kathy Schwalbe LLC

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