Mixed modelling of a radiotherapy centre : the complementary application and integration of system dynamics and discrete event simulation

Morgan, Jennifer and Belton, Valerie and Howick, Susan (2011) Mixed modelling of a radiotherapy centre : the complementary application and integration of system dynamics and discrete event simulation. In: The European Working group on Operational Research Applied to Health Services (ORAHS), 2011-11-07. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Both System Dynamics (SD) and Discrete Event Simulation (DES) have been successfully applied within the healthcare context and this work examines how they can be used in a complementary and interacting manner. This work has applied the two simulation approaches within the radiotherapy planning and treatment process at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre to provide insight into the behaviour of the system. The unit is subject to resource constraints yet is driven to keep up with Research and Developments in the Radiotherapy field. How it might implement new more complex radiotherapy techniques in practice is explored in this work. A SD model represents the policy of progressive implementation of complex treatment regimes and captures the increasing treatment times, the learning processes involved and delays within the system. A DES captures the activity within the system: from the booking and initial imaging of patients, through the planning process and onto treatment. It is used to explore the impact of employing new more complex radiotherapy treatment regimes, depicting the impact such changes have on the capacity of the system and the day to day running of the centre. The combined application of the approaches allows the progressive implementation of new regimes to be explored to ensure timely treatment of patients and limit excessive queueing. This work sits within the multi-methodology field and how the two models add value to the project is reflected upon, and the interaction between the models is discussed.