Analyst-driven development of an open-source simulation tool to address poor uptake of O.R. in healthcare

Christos Vasilakis, Richard Wood

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Computer simulation studies of health and care problems have been reported extensively in the academic literature, but the one-off research projects typically undertaken have failed to create an enduring legacy of widespread use by healthcare practitioners. Simulation and other modelling tools designed and developed to be used routinely have not fared much better either. Following a review of the literature and a survey of frontline analysts in the UK NHS, we found that one reason for this is because simulation tools have, to date, not been developed with the requirements of the end-user in the heart of the development process. Starting with a thorough needs assessment of NHS based healthcare analysts, this study outlines a set of practical design principles to guide development of simulation software tool for conducting patient flow simulation studies. The overall requirement is that patient flow be modelled over a number of inter-connected points of delivery while capturing the stochastic nature of patient arrivals and hospital length of stay, as well as the dynamic delays to patient discharge and transfer of care between different points of care delivery. In ensuring a cost-free solution that is both versatile and user-friendly, and coded in an increasingly popular language among the envisaged end users, the tool was implemented is the R programming language and software environment, with the user interface implemented in the interactive R-Shiny application. The talk will provide an overview of the project lifecycle including an illustrative example of an empirical simulation study concerning the centralisation of an acute stroke pathway.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationORAHS 2020 Program
Number of pages1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jul 2020
Event46th meeting of the EURO Working Group on Operational Research Applied to Health Services - University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Duration: 26 Jul 202031 Jul 2020
Conference number: 46


Conference46th meeting of the EURO Working Group on Operational Research Applied to Health Services
Abbreviated titleORAHS2020
Internet address

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