Economics at your fingertips  

When patients get stuck: A systematic literature review on throughput barriers in hospital-wide patient processes

Philip Åhlin, Peter Almström and Carl Wänström

Health Policy, 2022, vol. 126, issue 2, 87-98

Abstract: Hospital productivity is of great importance to policymakers, and previous research demonstrates that improved hospital productivity can be achieved by directing more focus towards patient throughput at healthcare organizations. There is also a growing body of literature on patient throughput barriers hampering the flow of patients. These projects rarely, however, encompass complete hospitals. Therefore, this paper provides a systematic literature review on hospital-wide patient process throughput barriers by consolidating the substantial body of studies from single settings into a hospital-wide perspective. Our review yielded a total of 2207 articles, of which 92 were finally selected for analysis. The results reveal long lead times, inefficient capacity coordination and inefficient patient process transfer as the main barriers at hospitals. These are caused by inadequate staffing, lack of standards and routines, insufficient operational planning and a lack in IT functions. As such, this review provides new perspectives on whether the root causes of inefficient hospital patient throughput are related to resource insufficiency or inefficient work methods. Finally, this study develops a new hospital-wide framework to be used by policymakers and healthcare managers when deciding what improvement strategies to follow to increase patient throughput at hospitals.

Keywords: Hospitals; Efficiency; Organizational; Process assessment; Health care; Review; Barrier; Productivity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

DOI: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2021.12.002

Access Statistics for this article

Health Policy is currently edited by Katrien Kesteloot, Mia Defever and Irina Cleemput

More articles in Health Policy from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Catherine Liu () and ().

Page updated 2022-04-02
Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:126:y:2022:i:2:p:87-98