Hybrid Simulation in Healthcare: a Review of the Literature

Hybrid Simulation (HS) modeling has been grabbing researchers’ attention lately. People attempted to overcome the limitation of single models by using HS. The use of HS has increased as problems have become more complex and multidimensional, with a particular focus on healthcare systems. Such complexities make it challenging for single simulation models to provide the right support for decision-making.

This article reports on a preliminary review of the literature and investigates the prevalence and utilization of HS in healthcare. Thirty-three relevant papers were found in the literature, including application papers, frameworks, and review papers. The review categorized the M&S techniques employed and analysed the application type, software packages, trends, opportunities, and challenges of HS in healthcare. The different ways of developing HS were presented. Findings showed that combining Discrete-Event Simulation and System Dynamics was the most common approach to developing HS models in healthcare. However, the popularity of combining Agent-Based Simulation with others is on the rise.

Fully integrated HS was not achieved in healthcare literature. The combination of the models can be used either in Excel or AnyLogic. Moreover, the necessity of having generic and applicable model development was detected. When ABS was involved for HS, only AnyLogic software was used. In addition, using ABS was mainly combined with DES. However, involving SD in the model can give a strategic view of the problem.

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