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Reflections on healthcare modelling

Pathway mapping and simulation can both be valuable when redesigning healthcare systems. We have deployed both techniques in a variety of studies for different health boards and specialties. Some of these applications have been successful; others failed to meet all stakeholders’ expectations. In many cases pathway mapping was sufficient: computer based, hierarchical pathway models with stylised icons were used to develop rich but clear representations of the healthcare systems. Such pathway maps are accessible to a wide range of users and can promote the understanding of the whole system. Some applications may justify more substantial modelling using simulation to quantify the flows and constraints in the system, all within a highly variable environment. Comparing these experiences suggests some general guidance for choosing the correct techniques and successful implementation.


Bowers J, Mould G (forthcoming) A comparison of process modelling methods for healthcare redesign, International Journal of Simulation and Process Modelling.

Bowers J, Mould G (2012) Exploring alternative routes to realising the benefits of simulation in healthcare, Journal of the Operational Research Society, Vol.63, 1457-1466.

Bowers J, Mould G (2011) Roles of pathway-based models and their contribution to the redesign of healthcare systems, International Journal of Care Pathways, Vol.15, No.3, pp.90-97.

Mould G, Bowers J, Ghattas M (2010) The evolution of the pathway and its role in improving patient care, Quality and Safety in Health Care, Vol.19, pp.1-6.

For further information please contact John Bowers.

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