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An interactive framework for developing simulation models of hospital accident and emergency services.

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Health and Social Care Modelling Group, Cavendish School of Computer Science, University of Westminster, London, UK.


Discrete-event simulation can be a valuable tool in modelling health care systems. This paper describes an interactive framework to model and simulate a hospital accident and emergency department. An interactive spreadsheet (Excel) facilitated the user-friendly input of data such as patient pathways, arrival times, service times and resources into the discrete event simulation package (SIMUL8). The framework was enhanced further by configuring SIMUL8 to visually show patient flow and activity on a schematic plan of an A&E. The patient flow and activity information included patient icons flowing along A&E corridors and pathways, processes undertaken in A&E work areas and queue activity. One major benefit of visually showing patient flow and activity was that modellers and decision makers could visually gain a dynamic insight into the performance of the overall system and visually see changes over the model run cycle. Another key benefit of the interactive framework was the ability to quickly and easily change model parameters to trial, test and compare different scenarios.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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