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9.pdf - Health Systems(2012 1 1725 2012 Operational...

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ORIGINAL ARTICLE A guide for building hospital simulation models Murat M. Gunal Industrial Engineering Department, Turkish Naval Academy, Tuzla, Istanbul, Turkey Correspondence: Murat M. Gunal, Industrial Engineering Department, Turkish Naval Academy, Tuzla, Istanbul 34942, Turkey. Tel: þ 90 216 395 2630; Fax: þ 90 216 395 2658; E-mail: [email protected] Received: 5 March 2012 Revised: 23 March 2012 2nd Revision: 7 April 2012 Accepted: 13 April 2012 Abstract Healthcare systems aspire to offer an effective and efficient provision of health service without compromising on quality. Hospitals are important links in the healthcare service chain, and Operational Research/Management Science methods have an essential role to play in helping to improve the planning and management of hospitals. In particular, simulation methods have been widely used by healthcare researchers and practitioners. This paper is written as a guide for building hospital simulation models and is based on the author’s experience and the published literature. Two points of view emerge in this paper supporting each other: a conceptual view and a technical view. Initially, conceptual issues are discussed, including topics such as framing and specification, level of model detail, and data requirements. Second, a technical point of view buttresses the discussion from the methodological side and three simulation methods are evaluated, namely: Discrete Event Simulation, System Dynamics, and Agent-Based Simulation. Health Systems (2012) 1, 17–25. doi:10.1057/hs.2012.8; published online 25 May 2012 Keywords: simulation; hospital; discrete event simulation; system dynamics; agent based simulation Introduction Hospitals are one of the most important links in the healthcare service chain and their quality directly affects people’s lives. Operational Research/ Management Science (OR/MS) methods can assist many people in the health system who are required to plan and manage hospital resources. One such method is computer simulation. A simulation model is a replica of a real-world system on computer and can be used to evaluate ‘what-if?’ scenarios before actually implementing changes in the real system. For example, a simulation model of a hospital’s radiology department could be used to better understand the impact that a new Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanner might have on the hospital’s quality of service. There are many examples of use of simulation in hospitals as cited in the several reviews of the academic literature, such as those by Lane et al (2000), Brailsford et al (2009), Gunal & Pidd (2010), and Katsaliaki & Mustafee (2010). Most of the papers in the hospital simulation modelling area open with a sentence indicating the financial size of the healthcare sector and the need for improved efficiency. The intention of this paper is to act as a guide to support researchers or practitioners building hospital simulation models. It is stressed that by the term hospital model , it isn’t necessarily a whole-hospital model of its entire operations and function-
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