Patient logistics management of patient flows in hospitals: A comparison of Bavarian and Austrian hospitals

Johannes Kriegel, Franziska Jehle, Hannes Moser, Linda Tuttle Weidinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Patient logistics, as a cross-departmental organization and optimization approach, offers the possibility of improving the quality of care and the use of resources in hospital. Thus, the question: What objectives, measures, and indicators affect the current and future configuration of patient logistics in Bavarian and Austrian hospitals? Method: To identify the different objectives, developments, and improvements of patient flows in hospitals, an online survey and a review of literature were carried out among chief nursing officers (CNOs) in Bavarian (BAY) and Austrian (AUT) hospitals. In November 2014, 140 CNOs in Bavaria (n = 26 responses/response rate 19%) and 100 CNOs in Austria (n = 28 responses/response rate 28%) were asked to fill out an online questionnaire. Results: In addition to a classification and definition of the topic ‘patient logistics’, the survey identifies overarching objectives (e.g. evidence-based medicine, customer and patient orientation, economic resources) as well as the specific objectives (e.g. patient satisfaction, short-waiting times, patient delivery at the point of care) in BAY/AUT hospitals. Furthermore, the current needs for improvements (e.g. waiting time collection, transfer of responsibility, prognosis of patient processes) as well as currently applied instruments (e.g. central emergency department, cross-bed management, release management) were investigated. For this, the in-practice relevant indicators of patient flow management (e.g. patient waiting times, length of stay, patient-based cost accounting) were ascertained. Furthermore, the different communication tools (e.g. newsletters, posters, workshops) that are used in the context of patient flow management were collected. Conclusion: In addition to identify the various objectives, developments and improvement of patient logistics in BAY/AUT hospitals, the different internal and external factors, such as relevant contextual factors (e.g. regulation, competition, resource availability) or future developments (e.g. professionalization, technological support, performance measurement) in BAY and AUT hospitals, were observed. Furthermore, a focused and comprehensive communication strategy concerning the management of internal patient flows in hospital can be developed (includes interfaces to external patient logistics).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-268
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Healthcare Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Chief nursing officers
  • Hospital management
  • Online questionnaire
  • Patient flow management
  • Patient logistics
  • Performance measurement


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