Reducing queues: demand and capacity variations
Journal article, 2011

Purpose – The aim of this paper is to investigate how waiting lists or queues could be reduced without adding more resources; and to describe what factors sustain reduced waiting-times. Design/methodology/approach – Cases were selected according to successful and sustained queue reduction. The approach in this study is action research. Findings – Accessibility improved as out-patient waiting lists for two clinics were reduced. The main success was working towards matching demand and capacity. It has been possible to sustain the improvements. Research limitations/implications – Results should be viewed cautiously. Transferring and generalizing outcomes from this study is for readers to consider. However, accessible healthcare may be possible by paying more attention to existing solutions. Practical implications – The study indicates that queue reduction activities should include acquiring knowledge about theories and methods to improve accessibility, finding ways to monitor varying demand and capacity, and to improve patient processing by reducing variations. Originality/value – Accessibility is considered an important dimension when measuring service quality. However, there are few articles on how clinic staff sustain reduces waiting lists. This paper contributes accessible knowledge to the field.

Process management

Lean thinking

Organizational change


Health services



Care pathways


Henrik Eriksson

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Quality Sciences

Ing-Marie Bergbrant

Sahlgrenska University Hospital

Ingela Berrum-Svennung

Sahlgrenska University Hospital

Boel Mörck

Sahlgrenska University Hospital

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

0952-6862 (ISSN)

Vol. 24 8 592-600

Subject Categories

Other Mechanical Engineering

Dermatology and Venereal Diseases

Areas of Advance






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