New Western University study aims to eliminate ‘hallway medicine’
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A new study from Western University outlines practical solutions to eliminate ‘hallway medicine’ in Canadian hospitals, which was a key talking point during the recent Ontario election. Hospital crowding is always a hot button topic in Canada because emergency room wait times are not getting better.

David Standford from Western University, his former PhD students Na Li and Azaz Sharif and two co-authors propose a own solution, based on statistics, to minimize the expected number of patients that are forced to wait beyond their targeted times. They propose a method that tracks how patients are doing based on their current condition, which will allow them to accumulate ‘priority’ points while they wait.

“This approach would basically serve as a tie-breaker,” says Stanford. “It can also minimize an even bigger issue in that hospital wards are almost always full, which blocks patients being transferred out of emergency departments and hospital hallways.”

Their findings were published in the European Journal of Operational Research and will help to ensure that Ontarians across the province, no matter their age or where they live, have access to strong and reliable care.

“The current targets are unachievable not only because of limited resources, funds or personnel but because the way we’re calculating physician hours needed is not realistic in terms of patient flow and the varying levels of trauma that come to Canadian emergency rooms. The current model reflects a lack of understanding of basic queueing principles, which we fully explain in this study.”
David Stanford
Professor in Western’s Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences
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