Assessing an ambulance service with queuing theory

Singer, M., Donoso, P., 2008. Computers and Operations Research 35, 2549-2560.

We describe an ambulance service in terms of its main operation parameters and strategic decision variables. Assisted by queuing theory, we calculate the key performance indicators (KPI) that concern the manager and the KPI that concern the patient. We use them to improve the operation of a private ambulance service in Chile. First, we evaluate whether the historical performance is consistent with the resources deployed. Then, we estimate the impact of some operational enhancements, such as reducing the cycle time or enlarging the fleet. Finally, we optimize the geographical coverage of the bases. We conclude that simple mathematical expressions are very useful to evaluate and improve the operation.

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