Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.


Industrial Engineering

Committee Chair

Depuy, Gail W.


Hospitals--Emergency service--Quality control


The purpose of this research project is to evaluate the feasibility of interhospital patient transfers (within a hospital corporation referred to as NESW Hospital Co.) as a means of reducing emergency department overcrowding. Customer satisfaction is a highly weighted factor in the event of interhospital transferring of patients, as providing quality health care is of the utmost importance to the NESW Hospital Co. Interhospital patient transfers are considered in times of high patient volumes when the referring hospital lacks an available bed to care for those patients whom, via the emergency department, must be admitted to a nursing unit. NESW Hospital Co. consists of four hospitals within a metropolitan area. In order to maintain consistency, four nursing units were chosen from each hospital. The nursing units selected for observation provide the same type of care across the facilities, and each has generally high utilization according to data provided by the corporation. Additionally, costs associated with transferring patients between facilities were provided by the corporation. A linear programming model along with sensitivity analysis was used in evaluating the transfer of patients from the emergency department of one hospital to the appropriate nursing unit of another. The evaluation yields positive results. The Model 2 objective function value was $12,350. This method of assigning transfer patients is economically feasible. The amount of time a patient must spend in the waiting area of the emergency department, or in an emergency room waiting to be assigned a bed within a nursing unit was significantly reduced. Additionally, transferring patients creates more space within the emergency departments and allows more patients to be treated.