An introduction to using computer simulation in healthcare: patient wait case study

J Soc Health Syst. 1997;5(3):1-15.


As healthcare continues to become more competitive, the ability to assess tradeoffs between resource utilization, service, and operating costs grows in importance, such as with respect to appointment access, waiting room delays, and telephone service. This paper discusses the use of simulation analysis for studying and improving these and other health systems. A case study concerning pediatric waiting times illustrates typical steps involved in a simulation study, possible types of analyses, and resources required. Other healthcare uses of stimulation, pitfalls to avoid, and software selection also are discussed briefly.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Appointments and Schedules*
  • Child
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Humans
  • Models, Organizational
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Pediatrics*
  • Software
  • Software Design
  • Time Management
  • Time and Motion Studies*
  • Workforce