In early 2013, Netherlands based Maasstad Hospital was required to make a decision on its involvement in National Bowel Screening. A number of factors had to be considered in the decision process including; hospital capacity, financial implications, quality requirements, procedural agreements and a strict certification process. In addition, each of these factors would have an effect on the internal structure of the hospital as well as staff planning in relation to the implementation of BVO colonoscopies.
To assist decision making, Maasstad Hospital approached consultancy firm Tarsius Group. Given the number of factors and the possible implications on the hospital’s organizational structure and planning, SIMUL8 simulation software was selected as the decision making tool. Using SIMUL8, Maasstad hospital could test multiple scenarios and determine possible outcomes which would influence its decision to join the National Bowel Screening program.
Key factors to be addressed in the simulation included:
Using SIMUL8, a process simulation model of the internal implementation of colonoscopies was developed. This allowed the ability to test multiple scenarios, determine the outcome of different planning methodologies and their effect on efficiency and costs. In addition, the simulation offered insight into the effect of organizational and process changes on the throughput times of patients.
The simulation was able to determine the answers to a number of questions Maasstad Hospital had, thus influencing their decision to enter the program. Some of the key questions addressed in the simulation included:
With participation in the program expected to be at 60%, the simulation considered the consequences if participation was lower than expected and what factors would have an impact on participation levels.
Within the simulation, the following three scenarios and their variations were developed:
Using this model, Maasstad Hospital had the knowledge to implement the most effective method of performing BVO Colon screenings and know the impact this would have on their normal colon screening patients. Furthermore by implementing small changes in planning, the hospital was able to optimize their current capacity, thus maximizing revenues.
This way of looking at processes, efficiencies, cost and revenues is relatively new for Dutch Healthcare institutions. SIMUL8 can be used in all sorts of processes within the hospital to make the best decisions first time, rather than changing the way things work when problems arise.