Non-homogeneous servers in emergency medical systems: Practical applications using the hypercube queueing model
In this paper, we study the effects of considering homogeneous versus non-homogeneous servers in applications of the hypercube queueing model. This is important since approximate methods available for solving the model for homogeneous servers are computationally much less time-consuming than the exact methods required for the non-homogeneous case. Illustrative examples are initially presented to show the degree to which using homogeneous versus non-homogeneous servers can differ. Then, two ambulance deployment applications dealing with Brazilian emergency medical systems, in a city and along a highway, are analyzed. The basic operational characteristics of non-homogeneous systems were compared to the respective predictions produced under the simplifying assumption of homogeneous servers. It was found that, even when the degree of non-homogeneity of the servers is not highly significant, homogeneity may lead to poor predictions of the actual operational characteristics of non-homogeneous systems.
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