A stochastic control approach to avoiding emergency department overcrowding

A. Chockalingam, K. Jayakumar, M.A. Lawley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Emergency Department (ED) overcrowding is a common problem in hospitals in the United States. Presenting a barrier to safe delivery of healthcare, hospitals address ED overcrowding by diverting ambulances to the nearest available facility, leading to delays in healthcare delivery and losses in revenue. Control policies on hospital resources could greatly improve healthcare delivery by preventing overcrowding and ambulance diversion. In this paper, we use Petri-nets (PNs) to model patient and resource flow in a hospital system. Simulating these PNs, we can observe changes in the availability of resources over time and obtain a stochastic differential equation (SDE) which models the hospitals proximity to entering a divert state (in a Euclidean sense). Likening the resource allocation problem to a stochastic control problem, we derive the related free-boundary problem. The solution of this problem is the optimal control policy that dictates when and how many resources should be added or removed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2010 Winter Simulation Conference (WSC), 5-8 December 2010, Baltimore, USA
EditorsB. Johansson, S. Jain, J. Montoya-Torres, J. Hugan, E. Yucesan
Place of PublicationPiscataway
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
ISBN (Print)978-1-4244-9866-6
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event2010 Winter Simulation Conference, WSC 2010 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: 5 Dec 20108 Dec 2010


Conference2010 Winter Simulation Conference, WSC 2010
Abbreviated titleWSC 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States


Dive into the research topics of 'A stochastic control approach to avoiding emergency department overcrowding'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this