Health and social care systems are facing major challenges worldwide, due in part to changes in demography and advances in technology and in part to changes in the structure and organisation of care delivery. The IMA Health 2013 conference brought together health care managers, clinicians, management consultants, and mathematicians, operational and health service researchers, statisticians and health economists from across the world with a view to bridging the gap between the respective communities, to exploring recent developments and identifying opportunities for further research. The eight selected papers of this special issue have been grouped into two broad categories. First, there are five papers that report on studies conducted in or relevant to care provision within hospitals. The three remaining papers concern studies aimed at problems related to care provided outside the hospital including long-term care, community based care services and public health. A key learning point arising from these papers and the discussions that took place during the conference is that the systems modelling community need not only to focus their efforts in developing new and improving the performance of existing algorithms, but also in achieving better integration with qualitative research methods and with various relevant strands of the social sciences (ethnography, organisation behaviour etc.). In any case, collaborative projects which engage directly with those involved both in delivering and receiving health care is key if modelling is to make a difference in tackling the messy and complex problems of health and social care.
Vasilakis, C., Chaussalet, T., & Pitt, M. (2015). The 7th IMA international conference on quantitative modelling in the management of health and social care: IMA health 2013 special issue. Health Care Management Science, 18(2), 107-109. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10729-014-9306-y