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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/C531930/1
Title: Multi-level Simulation Modelling Combining System Dynamics and Discrete Event Methodologies: Research Innovation and Application to Health Services
Principal Investigator: Harper, Professor PR
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Mathematics
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: Mathematics Small Grant PreFEC
Starts: 28 February 2005 Ends: 27 October 2005 Value (£): 6,306
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Mathematical Aspects of OR
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
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Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Healthcare systems are faced with funding cutbacks, rising costs, an aging population and increasing waiting times for service. Each sector of care, such as a hospital ward, outpatient department or elderly care home, might be considered as a silo of self-contained budgets and decisions. Since many issues cross all sectors and institutions, decision making for a single silo often results in a poor balance of precious resources among the healthcare system as a whole. There are no comprehensive operational and stratgeic tools to help policy makers manage complexity and utilise the benefits of integrated decision making. The considerable efforts made thus far in the application of mathematical modelling have been limited to single hospital departments or small groups of departments. The few attempts to use simulation on a whole hospital have been subject to concerns that these models are over simplified and lack flexibility. limiting them as decision support tools. What these models lack is a strategic vision that integrates the diverse workings of different departments of the hospital into one model. The proposed research will use computer models to simulate the movement of patients through a fully integrated healthcare system and will be novel in combining different simulation approaches; System Dynamics (SD) which is ideal for capturing large, messy, high level systems; and Discrete Event Simulation (DES) for capturing complexity and low-level detail. This project will combine the strengths of both approaches, integrating operational and strategic views to problems in resource allocation. The ultimate goal of this work is to provide decision support for allocating resources to the entire healthcare system with the view that decisions in each sector of care interact with other departments and must be addressed from a global perspective. The results of the developed tool will help management to estimate future resource needs across the healthcare system, including workforce needs and capacity planning. A number of different strategies may then be applied to the current situation and for experimental situations.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk