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Improve an emergency medical system capacity with theory of constraints.The measure of ambulance cycle time is of particular interest in the performance of Emergency Medical Systems (EMS). Its value determines the ambulance capacity of the operations system of an EMS institution. For a given number of ambulances in operation, as the value of the average ambulance cycle time increases, total ambulance capacity for the system is reduced. Additional impacts resulting from this situation are; an increase on the average ambulance response time and patient´s health risk due to the unavailability of ambulances; and a greater need of ambulance replacement investment requirements and operating cost. This work suggests an improvement approach based on Theory of Constraints (TOC) and elimination of waste for reducing ambulance cycle time. The approach is applied to a Mexican EMS institution based on metropolitan Monterrey. Results of the application are provided.
Reduce turnaround time through waste elimination.According to the NHS Confederation (2012), “It’s not good to be a patient stuck on an ambulance trolley in a corridor, but the patients at risk are the road traffic accidents or heart attacks still waiting for the ambulance service to respond”. Ambulance Turnaround time is a measure of particular interest in the performance of Emergency Medical Systems (EMS). It determines the degree of coordination and communication with the health institutions where each patient will receive his final treatment. Its value is key in the determination of the ambulance capacity of the operations system of an EMS institution. Long turnaround times decreases the availability of ambulances for future services and furthermore, it increases ambulance response times and patient´s health risk. This work is about applying an improvement approach based on Lean Thinking for reducing ambulance turnaround time in the EMS operations of the Red Cross located in metropolitan Monterrey, Mexico. Results of the application are provided.