Healthcare Simulation Modeling Methodology

1. Define the Problem

a. Define the objectives of the study.b. List the specific issues to be addressed.
c. Determine the boundary or domain of the study.
d. Determine the level of detail or proper abstraction level.
e. Determine if a simulation model is actually needed, will an analytical method
f. Estimate the required resources needed to do the study.
g. Perform a cost-benefit analysis
h. Create a planning chart of the proposed project.
i. Write a formal proposal.

2. Design the Study

a. Estimate the life cycle of the model.
b. List broad assumptions.
c. Estimate the number of models required.
d. Determine the animation requirements.
e. Select the tool.
f. Determine the level of data available and what data is needed.
g. Determine the human requirements and skill levels.
h. Determine the audience (usually more than one level of management).
i. Identify the deliverables.
j. Determine the priority of this study in relationship to other studies.
k. Set milestone dates.
l. Write the project functional specifications.

3. Design the Conceptual Model

a. Decide on continuous, discrete, or combined modeling.
b. Determine the elements that drive the system.
c. Determine the entities that should represent the system elements.
d. Determine the level of detail needed to describe system components.
e. Determine the graphics requirements of the model.
f. Identify the areas that utilize special control logic.
g. Determine how to collect statistics in the model and communicate results to
the customer.

4. Formulate Inputs, Assumptions, and Process Definition

a. Describe the physical constraints of the system.
b. Describe the creation and termination of dynamic elements.
c. Describe the process in detail.
d. Obtain the operation specifications.
e. Obtain the material handling specifications.
f. List all the assumptions.
g. Analyze the input data.
h. Specify the runtime parameters.
i. Write the detailed project functional specifications.
j. Validate the conceptual model.

5. Build, Verify, and Validate the Simulation Model

a. Beware of tool limitations.
b. Construct flow diagrams as needed.
c. Use modular techniques of model building, verification, and validation.
d. Reuse existing code as much as possible.
e. Make verification runs using deterministic data and trace as needed.
f. User proper naming conventions.
g. Use macros as much as possible.
h. Use structured programming techniques.
i. Document the model code as model is built.
j. Walk through the logic or code with the client.
k. Set up official model validation meetings.
l. Perform input-output validation.
m. Calibrate the model if necessary.

6. Experiment with the Model and Look for Opportunities for Design of Experiments

a. Make a pilot run to determine warm-up and steady state periods.
b. Identify the major variables by changing one variable at a time for several
c. Perform design of experiments if needed.
d. Build confidence intervals for output data.
e. Apply variance reduction techniques whenever possible.
f. Build confidence intervals when comparing alternatives.
g. Analyze the results and identify cause-effect relations among input and output

7. Documentation and Presentation

a. Project Book.
b. Documentation of model input, code, and output.
c. Project functional specifications.
d. User Manual.
e. Maintenance Manual.
f. Discussion and explanation of model results.
g. Recommendations for further areas of study.
h. Final project report and presentation.

8.Define the Model Life Cycle

a. Construct user friendly model input and output interfaces.
b. Determine model and training responsibility.
c. Establish data integrity and collection procedures.
d. Perform field data validation tests.