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Sustaining critical care: using evidence-based simulation to evaluate ICU management policies


  • Amin Mahmoudian-Dehkordi

    (Yazd University)

  • Somayeh Sadat

    () (Tarbiat Modares University)


Abstract Intensive Care Units (ICU) are costly yet critical hospital departments that should be available to care for patients needing highly specialized critical care. Shortage of ICU beds in many regions of the world and the constant fire-fighting to make these beds available through various ICU management policies motivated this study. The paper discusses the application of a generic system dynamics model of emergency patient flow in a typical hospital, populated with empirical evidence found in the medical and hospital administration literature, to explore the dynamics of intended and unintended consequences of such ICU management policies under a natural disaster crisis scenario. ICU management policies that can be implemented by a single hospital on short notice, namely premature transfer from ICU, boarding in ward, and general ward admission control, along with their possible combinations, are modeled and their impact on managerial and health outcome measures are investigated. The main insight out of the study is that the general ward admission control policy outperforms the rest of ICU management policies under such crisis scenarios with regards to reducing total mortality, which is counter intuitive for hospital administrators as this policy is not very effective at alleviating the symptoms of the problem, namely high ED and ICU occupancy rates that are closely monitored by hospital management particularly in times of crisis. A multivariate sensitivity analysis on parameters with diverse range of values in the literature found the superiority of the general ward admission control to hold true in every scenario.

Suggested Citation

  • Amin Mahmoudian-Dehkordi & Somayeh Sadat, 2017. "Sustaining critical care: using evidence-based simulation to evaluate ICU management policies," Health Care Management Science, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 532-547, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:hcarem:v:20:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10729-016-9369-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s10729-016-9369-z

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    References listed on IDEAS

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