Lessons from mixing OR methods in practice : using DES and SD to explore a radiotherapy treatment planning process

Morgan, Jennifer Sian and Belton, Val and Howick, Susan (2016) Lessons from mixing OR methods in practice : using DES and SD to explore a radiotherapy treatment planning process. Health Systems, 5 (3). pp. 166-177. ISSN 2047-6973

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    Abstract

    Mixing Operational Research (OR) methods is becoming more commonplace. Discrete-Event Simulation (DES) and System Dynamics (SD) are popular modelling methods previously applied to a range of situations for various purposes, which are starting to be mixed in healthcare. However, the practicalities of mixing DES and SD in practice remain unclear. Radiotherapy treatment is a complex multi-stage process where technology and best practice continue to evolve. This paper describes a project undertaken to explore the treatment planning process using mixed OR methods. It presents insights obtained through mixing OR methods within a real world project. The model development process, the role of each modelling method, and the benefits of undertaking a mixed OR methods project design are described. Lessons for mixing DES and SD, and more generally mixing OR methods, are discussed.