The application of simulation models for improving operations in health care settings is well studied. Due to the extensive investments in both the cost and the time involved in the implementation of new policies, mathematical modeling approaches, such as simulation modeling, present cost effective methods for evaluating system costs and benefits. Studies on health care system process improvement through the use of computer simulations emerged at the beginning of 21st century and have examined a variety of different problems such as outpatient clinic layout design, patient flow redesign, and appointment scheduling. Although the benefits of computer simulation models are clear, health care simulation models are traditionally designed specifically for a particular setting or system and are highly limited by, and dependent on the underlying model assumptions and inputs.
This study is designed to demonstrate the benefit of using a single simulation model in order to analyze operations at two distinct, but related, pediatric orthopedic outpatient clinics in Massachusetts. A simulation model with a built-in dashboard is constructed for the clinics using AnyLogic. The constructed simulation model has been proven to be a useful tool in anticipating the effects of changes in system features such as patient volume, provider team mix, and exam room assignment policies. With the development of a flexible simulation model the ultimate goal is to assist clinic managers in their efforts to reduce patient waiting time and lengths of stay in the two distinct orthopedic clinics.