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Title: A generic framework for hybrid simulation in healthcare
Author: Chahal, Kirandeep
ISNI:       0000 0004 2725 5839
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2010
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Healthcare problems are complex; they exhibit both detail and dynamic complexity. It has been argued that Discrete Event Simulation (DES), with its ability to capture detail, is ideal for problems exhibiting this type of complexity. On the other hand, System Dynamics (SD) with its focus on feedback and nonlinear relationships lends itself naturally to comprehend dynamic complexity. Although these modelling paradigms provide valuable insights, neither of them are proficient in capturing both detail and dynamic complexity to the same extent. It has been argued in literature that a hybrid approach, wherein SD and DES are integrated symbiotically, will provide more realistic picture of complex systems with fewer assumptions and less complexity. In spite of wide recognition of healthcare as a complex multi- dimensional system, there has not been any reported study which utilises hybrid simulation. This could be attributed to the fact that due to fundamental differences, the mixing of methodologies is quite challenging. In order to overcome these challenges a generic theoretical framework for hybrid simulation is required. However, there is presently no such generic framework which provides guidance about integration of SD and DES to form hybrid models. This research has attempted to provide such a framework for hybrid simulation which can be utilised in healthcare domain. On the basis of knowledge induced from literature, three requirements for the generic framework have been established. It is argued that the framework for hybrid simulation should be able to provide answers to Why (why hybrid simulation is required), What (what information is exchanged between SD and DES models) and How (how SD and DES models are going to interact with each other over the time to exchange information) within the context of implementation of hybrid simulation to different problem scenarios. In order to meet these requirements, a three-phase generic framework for hybrid simulation has been proposed. Each phase of the framework is mapped to an established requirement and provides guidelines for addressing that requirement. The proposed framework is then evaluated theoretically based on its ability to meet these requirements by using multiple cases, and accordingly modified. It is further evaluated empirically with a single case study comprising of Accident and Emergency department of a London district general hospital. The purpose of this empirical evaluation is to identify the limitations of the framework with regard to the implementation of hybrid models. It is realised during implementation that the modified framework has certain limitations pertaining to the exchange of information between SD and DES models. These limitations are reflected upon and addressed in the final framework. The main contribution of this thesis is the generic framework for hybrid simulation which has been applied within healthcare context. Through an extensive review of existing literature in hybrid simulation, the thesis has also contributed to knowledge in multi-method approaches. A further contribution is that this research has attempted to quantify the impact of intangible benefits of information systems into tangible business process improvements. It is expected that this work will encourage those engaged in simulation (e.g., researchers, practitioners, decision makers) to realise the potential of cross-fertilisation of the two simulation paradigms.
Supervisor: Eldabi, T. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: System dynamics ; Discrete event simulation ; Simulation in healthcare ; Multi-method simulation modelling ; Integrated simulation modelling