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Title: A distributed simulation methodology for large-scale hybrid modelling and simulation of emergency medical services
Author: Anagnostou, Anastasia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5359 6725
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2014
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Healthcare systems are traditionally characterised by complexity and heterogeneity. With the continuous increase in size and shrinkage of available resources, the healthcare sector faces the challenge of delivering high quality services with fewer resources. Healthcare organisations cannot be seen in isolation since the services of one such affects the performance of other healthcare organisations. Efficient management and forward planning, not only locally but rather across the whole system, could support healthcare sector to overcome the challenges. An example of closely interwoven organisations within the healthcare sector is the emergency medical services (EMS). EMS operate in a region and usually consist of one ambulance service and the available accident and emergency (A&E) departments within the coverage area. EMS provide, mainly, pre-hospital treatment and transport to the appropriate A&E units. The life-critical nature of EMS demands continuous systems improvement practices. Modelling and Simulation (M&S) has been used to analyse either the ambulance services or the A&E departments. However, the size and complexity of EMS systems constitute the conventional M&S techniques inadequate to model the system as a whole. This research adopts the approach of distributed simulation to model all the EMS components as individual and composable simulations that are able to run as standalone simulation, as well as federates in a distributed simulation (DS) model. Moreover, the hybrid approach connects agent-based simulation (ABS) and discrete event simulation (DES) models in order to accommodate the heterogeneity of the EMS components. The proposed FIELDS Framework for Integrated EMS Large-scale Distributed Simulation supports the re-use of existing, heterogeneous models that can be linked with the High Level Architecture (HLA) protocol for distributed simulation in order to compose large-scale simulation models. Based on FIELDS, a prototype ABS-DES distributed simulation EMS model was developed based on the London EMS. Experiments were conducted with the model and the system was tested in terms of performance and scalability measures to assess the feasibility of the proposed approach. The yielded results indicate that it is feasible to develop hybrid DS models of EMS that enables holistic analysis of the system and support model re-use. The main contributions of this thesis is a distributed simulation methodology that derived along the process of conducting this project, the FIELDS framework for hybrid EMS distributed simulation studies that support re-use of existing simulation models, and a prototype distributed simulation model that can be potentially used as a tool for EMS analysis and improvement.
Supervisor: Taylor, S.; Bell, D. Sponsor: MATCH Programme
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Distributed simulation ; Emergency medical services ; Hybrid simulation ; Agent-based simulation ; Discrete event simulation