Theory of Constraints for Patient Flow Course


Theory of Constraints for Patient Flow Course

It is traditionally difficult to achieve a breakthrough in performance in a healthcare system and all the more so in a rapid timescale. This session will enable you to lead and deliver a sustainable breakthrough in performance on patient flow in a remarkably short time scale. If you want to understand why this is possible and how to achieve such a sustained breakthrough then this program is for you. This training looks across the whole healthcare system.

Outline of the content:

  • Understanding the importance of managing patient flow in improving quality of care, access to care, length of stay and financial affordability of care.
  • Understanding healthcare systems as seemingly complex environments of emerging dependent events and statistical fluctuations often skewed in nature. The implications for planning and improving these systems.
  • A detailed explanation of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) and how it can achieve a breakthrough in performance for acute, care, community care and mental health environments in a remarkably short timescale.
  • How to carry out an analysis of a healthcare system and rapidly identify the few underlying constraints impacting the performance of the system and the necessary and sufficient TOC based actions to rapidly improve patient flow.
  • Understanding how to apply ‘time buffer management’ to healthcare systems and its use to improve flow and focus improvement efforts on the few key underlying constraints.
  • Understanding the key measures in managing and improving flow and how to implement them.
  • The role of software in improving and managing patient flow.

The learning outcomes:

On completing the session you will be able to:

  • Carry out an initial analysis of your healthcare system, hospital, or stream of care and identify the few key actions required to achieve a rapid improvement in performance.
  • Implement a simple buffer management system to help improve patient flow and focus improvement efforts.
  • Lead a focussed process of ongoing improvement in your own healthcare system.
  • Provide clinical and management leadership with the direction and insight you need to achieve a breakthrough in performance.

Course description:

The program will consist of a combination of presentations, educational simulations, case studies and discussion. This will allow participants to actively engage in exploring how the approaches can be implemented in their own setting.


There are no formal prerequisites although the participants will be guided to read ‘Pride and Joy’ by Alex Knight and will be expected to either have a management/director/clinical leader role in a healthcare system or be involved in analysis and/or performance improvement of such systems. It is also suitable for people leading operational change in such systems.


Your Trainer: Alex Knight

The course will be led by Alex Knight who is considered as the leading authority in the application of TOC in healthcare and has successfully applied the approach in acute, community, mental health care in many countries around the world.

His book ‘Pride and Joy’ is written as a novel to help engage clinical and managerial leaders in achieving similar breakthroughs in their own healthcare systems.

Duration and start date
One day course


  • 11/10/22 (09.30 – 16.30)


Registration now closed.

For more information about this course, please contact:

Training & Development Operational Lead, Rachel Caswell