What's in a wait? contrasting management science and economic perspectives on waiting for emergency care

Morton, Alec and Bevan, Gwyn (2008) What's in a wait? contrasting management science and economic perspectives on waiting for emergency care. Health Policy, 85 (2). pp. 207-217. ISSN 0168-8510

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Abstract

The current paper reviews and contrasts a management science view of waiting for healthcare, which centres on queues as devices for buffering demand, with an economic view, which stresses the role of the incentive structure, in the context of English Accident and Emergency Departments. We demonstrate that the management science view provides insight into waiting time performance within a single facility but is limited in its ability to shed light on variations in performance across facilities. We argue, with reference to supporting data, that such variations may be explainable by a proper understanding of the incentive structure in A&E Departments.