Journal of the Operational Research Society

, Volume 63, Issue 10, pp 1457–1466

Exploring alternative routes to realising the benefits of simulation in healthcare


  • J Bowers
    • University of Stirling
  • M Ghattas
    • NHS Fife
  • G Mould
    • University of Stirling
General Paper

DOI: 10.1057/jors.2011.127

Cite this article as:
Bowers, J., Ghattas, M. & Mould, G. J Oper Res Soc (2012) 63: 1457. doi:10.1057/jors.2011.127


Discrete event simulation should offer numerous benefits in designing healthcare systems but the reality is often problematic. Healthcare modelling faces particular challenges: genuine, fundamental variations in practice and an opposition to any suggestion of standardisation from some professional groups. This paper compares the experiences of developing a new simulation in an Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department, a subsequent adaptation for modelling an outpatient clinic and applications of a generic A&E simulation. These studies provide examples of three distinct approaches to realising the potential benefits of simulation: the bespoke, the reuse and the generic route. Reuse has many advantages: it is relatively efficient in exploiting previous modelling experience, delivering timely results although providing scope for adaptations to local practice. Explicitly demonstrating this willingness to adapt to local conditions and engaging with stakeholders is particularly important in healthcare simulation.


health serviceemergency departmentssimulation

Copyright information

© Operational Research Society 2012