The Bed Managers Dilemma: A Dynamic Bed Assignment Problem

Jacqueline Griffin ’05, ’06G

Date and Time: 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 4:00pm

Event Location: 

Mohler Lab Room 451

The role of hospital bed management staff and processes has gained increased attention in recent years due to the impact of bed management practices on hospital performance metrics including average boarding time, patient safety, overflow rate, and patient diversions. One of the key tasks of the bed manager is to balance the available capacity with competing requests for beds, accounting for the unique requirements and clinical characteristics of the patients, and expectations about future demand and patient discharges. Due to the constantly changing system state, the process of matching patients with beds is similar to a dynamic assignment problem. We identify structural properties of the bed assignment process, by modeling the hospital system as a tandem queueing network with multiple customer classes and cross-trained server pools. Utilizing these properties we develop new algorithms for making dynamic assignment decisions and test the performance against current hospital bed assignment practices with simulation.

Bio Sketch: 

Jackie Griffin is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at Northeastern University. Her primary research interests include applications of Operations Research in health and humanitarian systems. In particular, her focus is on multi-objective resource allocation models. Jackie has partnered with a variety of organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta, DeKalb Medical Womens Center, Emory University Hospital, Grady Memorial Hospital, and World Vision. She was awarded the Global Impact Scholarship and Chaddick Award by the ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation in 2010 and 2011, respectively. She received her PhD from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. Additionally, she completed her MS and BS degrees in the Industrial and Systems Engineering department at Lehigh University.