Healthcare optimization: Ops Design innovations with simulation modeling

Complex dialysis care

In healthcare optimization, transformative initiatives like simulation modeling are reshaping the landscape of dialysis care operations. An operations design team, a dynamic force within healthcare organizations, can streamline efforts to optimize operations and elevate dialysis patient care technicians’ work to a new level.

Through the strategic utilization of simulation software, such as AnyLogic, healthcare teams are uncovering new efficiencies and streamlining processes for improved outcomes.


  1. Navigating the challenges of healthcare optimization
  2. Dialysis clinic bottlenecks
  3. Key lessons from building simulations for healthcare
  4. Looking to the future of healthcare optimization

Navigating the challenges of healthcare optimization

Dialysis care presents unique challenges, from scheduling logistics to interdisciplinary collaboration. Ops Design confronts these complexities head-on, leveraging data-driven insights and strategic optimizations to enhance patient care delivery.

By understanding the intricacies of dialysis treatment and patient needs, healthcare organizations are driving meaningful change in care delivery. At the AnyLogic Conference in 2023, DaVita presented the case of AnyLogic simulation model integration with dialysis healthcare optimization.

DaVita is a healthcare company known for its kidney care services. It operates a network of dialysis centers across the United States and in several other countries. In addition to dialysis services, the organization offers related medical services and support, including nutritional counseling for patients on dialysis treatment and laboratory and pharmacy services.

After spending a year acquiring simulation skills, the Ops Design team has gotten really good at modeling. Although they are still in the process of developing their simulation model, they already have some insights to share.

Dialysis clinic bottlenecks

The DaVita clinics serve over 200,000 dialysis patients in 3,000 operating branches. So, to deliver such complex healthcare services, DaVita is aiming to create a sizeable inter-disciplinary care team.

Statistics on Davita operations.

An overview of DaVita operations

One of the specific features is that the dialysis patient care technicians see their patients a lot. Patients visit the DaVita centers three times a week for four hours of treatment.

With care that is so high-touch, complex, and requires extensive inter-disciplinary care, it needs a high level of healthcare optimization and operations excellence. The Ops Design team is aiming to create more free time for dialysis patient care technician teams' workflow so they can adequately address patients who unexpectedly come up throughout the day.

Healthcare is a test-sensitive niche, so it requires software that provides a safe environment for testing different hypotheses before implementing them into clinics' routines.

Dialysis patient care technicians' collaboration patterns

Two dialysis patient care technicians’ collaboration patterns for simulation testing.

Two dialysis patient care technicians’ collaboration patterns for simulation testing

Currently, one care technician manages four patients alone, which can lead to delays in care during unexpected events. DaVita is going to explore a new model where two care technicians share eight patients, allowing quicker response times and smoother care delivery. Using AnyLogic, they will compare the efficiency of both approaches to optimizing patient care and increasing team and time resources.

Care technicians flow optimization

Scheme of the current dialysis patient care technicians’ movements per shift.

Scheme of the current dialysis patient care technicians’ movements per shift

DaVita invests in holistic healthcare optimization, particularly regarding essential tasks for employees such as pre-treatment assessments, medication preparation, administration, and charting.

Currently, the clinics' nurses cover four to five miles in a shift, which amounts to over 11,000 steps. This extensive movement can be exhausting and inefficient. Through AnyLogic, the Ops Design team is aiming to identify the most efficient workflow to minimize unnecessary walking, streamline operations, and ultimately enhance patient care outcomes.

Key lessons from building simulations for healthcare optimization

By defining clear objectives and embracing a culture of continuous improvement, medical teams can navigate the complexities of healthcare optimization with confidence and purpose.

Here are two of the most relevant recommendations DaVita Ops Design is able to share after beginning to utilize simulation modeling for the first time.

Set your scope early on

Avoid building the world the first time you encounter simulation modeling. In such a case, you will find an overly complex model with many features that are nice to have but lack the obligatory ones.

The most significant recommendation from the DaVita experience is to focus on your business questions and determine the minimum amount of modeling you need to answer them.

Have a model development plan in advance

As the healthcare optimization niche is not very familiar with software development and operations standards, consider agile and user stories. If you have little experience with AnyLogic modeling and need help knowing where to start, try writing down what you want your model to do.

This technique helps Ops Design and Development teams communicate successfully.

Looking to the future of healthcare optimization

As DaVita continues to push the boundaries of innovation, the prospects for dialysis care are bright. With Ops Design leading the charge and AnyLogic guiding the way, DaVita stands to elevate dialysis patient care technicians’ operations to new heights by experimenting with collaboration patterns, flow management, and more.

DaVita's path is evidence of the power of innovation and collaboration for healthcare optimization. By embracing change and harnessing the latest technologies, DaVita is paving the way for a brighter tomorrow in dialysis care.

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