Applying Discrete Event Simulation (DES) in Healthcare: The Case for Outpatient Facility Capacity Planning
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This paper highlights the opportunities and challenges of applying Discrete Event Simulation (DES) to support capacity planning of a network of outpatient facilities. Despite an abundance of studies using simulation techniques to examine the operation and performance of outpatient clinics, the problem of capacity allocation and planning of medical services within a network of outpatient healthcare facilities appears to be underexplored. Here, a case study of a health insurance provider that operates a network of six outpatient medical facilities in the US is used to illustrate and explore the synthesizing and adaptive, yet parsimonious nature of using DES methodology for network design and capacity planning. Results of this case study demonstrate that significant performance improvements for the network operator can be achieved with applying DES method to support the network facility capacity planning process.