The Impact of Pooling on Throughput Time in Discretionary Work Settings: An Empirical Investigation of Emergency Department Length of Stay

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The Impact of Pooling on Throughput Time in Discretionary Work Settings: An Empirical Investigation of Emergency Department Length of Stay

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Title: The Impact of Pooling on Throughput Time in Discretionary Work Settings: An Empirical Investigation of Emergency Department Length of Stay
Author: Song, Hummy; Tucker, Anita Lynn; Murrell, Karen L.

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Citation: Song, Hummy, Anita L. Tucker, and Karen L. Murrell. "The Impact of Pooling on Throughput Time in Discretionary Work Settings: An Empirical Investigation of Emergency Department Length of Stay." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 13–079, March 2013.
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Abstract: We conduct an empirical investigation on the impact of pooling tasks and resources on throughput times in a discretionary work setting. We use an Emergency Department’s (ED) patient-level data (N = 234,334) from 2007 to 2010 to test our hypotheses. We find that when the ED’s work system had pooled tasks and resources, patients’ lengths of stay were longer than when the ED converted to having dedicated tasks and resources. More specifically, we find that dedicated systems resulted in a 9 percent overall decrease in length of stay, which corresponds to a 25-minute reduction in length of stay for an average patient of medium severity in this ED. We propose that the improved performance comes from a reduction in social loafing and a more distributed utilization of shared resources. These benefits outweigh the expected efficiency gains from pooling, which are commonly predicted by queuing theory.
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Open Access Policy Articles, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#OAP
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:10647829
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