Improve Bed Management and Capacity Planning with Simulation


Inpatient stays are one of the most expensive areas of healthcare - better bed management could save $1.8 million per quarter per hospital and improve patient outcomes.

Healthcare organizations use SIMUL8’s Bed.P.A.C. simulation software to develop long-term bed capacity solutions and identify when bed shortages could occur.


How can simulation move bed capacity planning beyond spreadsheets?


Managing bed capacity is crucial to the smooth running of a hospital, since all departments are in some way dependent on bed availability.

Hospital beds are required for patients needing emergency care as well as procedures. Requirements differ depending on the time of arrival, by hour, day, week and month and the needs and characteristics of the particular patient.

Given this complexity and wealth of evidence on variation, it is surprising that many hospital planners still use deterministic spreadsheets to plan their bed capacity, based on average demand.

Bed planning can’t be management in silo, it is important to look at the system as a whole which is not possible with spreadsheets.

Simulation is a more sophisticated way of managing the variation in demand that is experienced by hospitals, and produces results which are much more accurate than spreadsheets.


Simulation helps ward staff and hospital planners to answer:

  • How could we manage staff shifts better to effectively meet demand?
  • What happens if we flex beds between clinical specialties?
  • How do we ensure patients get the beds in the right speciality for their clinical needs?
  • When beds aren't available, where is the next best place to place them?
  • What happens when we have to close units unexpectedly?
  • What will happen if our patient mix changes?
  • What impact would increasing community beds have, how many do we need?

What are the benefits of using simulation for hospital bed planning?


Every decision in your hospital impacts on bed availability, and capacity impacts on overall patient flow. A change in one part of the hospital can improve or disrupt the overall system.

Simulation is the only solution to provide this complete overview, enabling hospitals to:


1. Predict and manage demand surges

Gain insight into how policy changes will impact your bed requirements. Test, plan and experiment with bed demand and management in a risk-free environment and identify when you will run out of beds.

2. Experiment with bed capacity improvements

Improve the patient experience by testing the impact of improvement decisions on cancellations, waits and costs. Be confident that your decision is the right one for costs and patient care.

3.Improve communication and decision making

Get departments working together on patient placement decisions. Sharing forecasts will provide stakeholders with the visibility and information needed for bed planning decision making.

Case study

Isle of Wight NHS Trust gains 17% bed capacity for inpatients using simulation

SIMUL8's Bed.P.A.C. simulation tool helped NHS Isle of Wight to gain an extra 17% capacity for medical inpatients within their existing bed base.

“Bed.P.A.C. has stood up to scrutiny from within the Trust, consequently the results output have led to constructive discussions about solutions to issues rather than ongoing debates about the integrity of the modeling. Consultants have been particularly impressed by our ability to recognize the maximum bed requirements and how often a certain number of beds will be utilized rather than referring to average bed requirements.”


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NHS

Featured bed management and capacity planning resources


Further resources

Carolyn Volker and Ali Nizar Latif talk us through Hamad Medical Corporation's journey with simulation and explain how HMC are establishing simulation as a key component of their business planning process.


Using simulation, Mount Sinai Hospital modeled maternity services to look at a number of scenarios surrounding insured vs. uninsured women and the impact of service changes on patient care, bed capacity and cost.


NHS Fife wanted to understand the impact of an aging population on demand for services, and to test the impact of the introduction of a virtual ward on bed capacity requirements.


SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital utilizes SIMUL8 to make planning decisions for its campus renewal project in less than three months.


Dr. Paul Schmidt, explores how simulation is being used to model a new operational strategy for unscheduled care at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust in the UK.


West Kent CCG used simulation to improve services for people at the end of their life including enabling people to die in the place of their choice.


Simulation was used at the Golden Jubliee National Hospital's heart and lung center to assess if an enhanced schedule would improve waiting times and cancellations, or if more radical changes, such as capacity or other resource reallocations should be considered instead.

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