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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 53-56

Application of queuing analysis for optimized utilization of laboratory staff: An observational study

1 Department of Pathology, North Delhi Municipal Corporation Medical College and Hindu Rao Hospital, Delhi, India
2 Cytopathology Division, ICMR-National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sompal Singh
Department of Pathology, North Delhi Municipal Corporation Medical College and Hindu Rao Hospital, Delhi - 110 007
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/amhs.amhs_44_20

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Background and Aim: Queuing theory, a discipline of operation management, has seen great utility in various service industries. Application of queuing analysis (QA) in healthcare has been largely limited to emergency room, pharmacy, and patient appointment system. Utility of QA in the hospital laboratory has not been evaluated in detail so far. This study aimed at evaluating the application of QA at a report dispatch counter in the pathology department of our tertiary-level hospital. Materials and Methods: In a cross-sectional observational study, patient arrival at the report dispatch counter in the department of pathology was noted for 5 consecutive days while service rate at the same counter was observed for 4 days. QA was performed using Poisson distribution function for patient arrival and exponential distribution function for service rate. The expected waiting time in queue as well as number of patients waiting in the queue was calculated. Results: The average arrival rate (λ) was 6.94 and service rate (μ) was 8.34 patients, both for 5-min interval periods. QA yielded the average waiting time in queue as 3.05 min. The expected number of patients in queue was estimated to be 4.26, implying that, on an average, four patients would be waiting in the queue to receive their report apart from the one being served at the a given time. Conclusion: QA can be efficiently applied to various areas of the hospital laboratory including report dispatch point. This is an extremely helpful tool to assist in staffing policy and assessing patient satisfaction at any patient contact point in the laboratory.

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