Queueing Theory Analysis of Labor & Delivery at a Tertiary Care Center
Labor and Delivery is a complex clinical service requiring the support of highly trained healthcare professionals from Obstetrics, Anesthesiology, and Neonatology and the access to a finite set of valuable resources. In the United States, the rate of cesarean sections on labor floors is approximately twice as high as considered appropriate for patient care. We analyze one month of data from a Boston-area hospital to assess how well the labor and delivery process can be modelled with tools from queueing theory. We find that the labor and delivery process is highly amenable to analysis under queueing theory models. We also investigate the problem of high cesarean section rates and the potential effects of resource utilization of lowering the rate of cesarean section.