A BPMN extension to support discrete-event simulation for healthcare applications: an explicit representation of queues, attributes and data-driven decision points


Stakeholder engagement in simulation projects is important, especially in healthcare where there is a plurality of stakeholder opinions, objectives and power. One promising approach for increasing engagement is facilitated modelling. Currently, the complexity of producing a simulation model means that the ‘model coding’ stage is performed without the involvement of stakeholders, interrupting the possibility of a fully facilitated project. Early work demonstrated that with currently available software tools we can represent a simple healthcare process using Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) and generate a simulation model automatically. However, for more complex processes, BPMN currently has a number of limitations, namely the ability to represent queues and data-driven decision points. To address these limitations, we propose a conceptual design for an extension to BPMN (BPMN4SIM) using model-driven architecture. Application to an elderly emergency care pathway in a UK hospital shows that BPMN4SIM is able to represent a more complex business process.

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Correspondence to B. S. S. Onggo.

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Onggo, B.S.S., Proudlove, N.C., D’Ambrogio, S.A. et al. A BPMN extension to support discrete-event simulation for healthcare applications: an explicit representation of queues, attributes and data-driven decision points. J Oper Res Soc (2017). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41274-017-0267-7

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  • discrete-event simulation
  • facilitated modelling
  • healthcare
  • BPMN
  • model-driven architecture