Queuing theory and the management of waiting-time: a case study of out-patient department of Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital Polyclinic Kumasi

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The effect of queuing in relation to the time spent by patients to access medical services is increasingly becoming a major source of concern to health care providers. This is because keeping patients waiting too long could result in in- conveniences or at times deaths. Also, providing too much service capacity to operate a system involves excessive cost. But not providing enough service ca- pacity results in excessive waiting time and cost. In this study, the queuing characteristics at the Komfo Anokye Teach- ing Hospital (KATH) Polyclinic were analysed using a Multi-server single-phase Model. Data for this study was collected at the outpatient department of the polyclinic in the 3rd Week of March, 2015 between the hours of 8 am to 12 noon through observations, interviews and by administering questionnaire. With the help of three research assistants a stop watch was used to calculate the number of minutes spent by each patient from the Record section, Assessment center and the Consulting rooms. The data gathered were analysed using Excel software as well as using calculator. The results showed that Monday recorded the highest number of patients in the waiting line at the Assessment Centre while the least number of patients in line was recorded on the same Monday at the Consulting Room. The study also showed that there were only two record centres, one assessment center and three consulting rooms at the polyclinic serving all the patients that arrived at the facility compelling them to join long queues. Patients had to wait on the average of 7.36 minutes in the queue at the assessment center on Mondays and 9.75 minutes in the system before receiving service. As a result, it is recommended that more doctors should be deployed to the hospital so as to convert the single-channel queuing units in multi-channel queuing units. It is also recommended that more health care centers should be created to take care of all categories of patients in the community.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Mathematics, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the Degree of Master of Science in Industrial Mathematics, 2015